Students at a public high school in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, are credited with helping prevent a potentially deadly school shooting.
Two teenage boys accused of plotting a mass shooting at Riverbend High School in Fredericksburg were arrested after their classmates saw threats they apparently posted online, school officials said Monday.
Authorities said the teens planned to call in a bomb threat, then shoot students and staff members as they evacuated.
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The 17-year-old and 15-year-old suspects appeared in juvenile court Monday and are being held at a detention center. They are charged with conspiracy to commit murder and were not named because of their ages.
One of the suspects was arrested Oct. 12 after investigators looked into online posts that indicated plans to commit acts of violence. He was charged with threatening violence by means of Internet. During that investigation, detectives found information that linked a second student to the plot. He was arrested Friday, Pierce said.
Investigators found guns in both teens' homes, and prosecutors charged both with conspiracy to commit murder.
A third boy told police he had knowledge of the plan and was interviewed extensively. Authorities determined he was not involved and had been bragging to impress a girl, said Capt. Jeff Pierce of the Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Office.
"He is a younger guy and there is no validity to any of the bragging comments he was making, trying to impress people," Pearce said Tuesday. "He was bragging that he had some guilty knowledge about what was supposed to happen... that he was some kind of lookout or was going to make a call."
He said the third student didn't have anything to do with the alleged conspiracy, and that authorities are confident that there were only two people involved.
Counselors were at the school Monday.
"Our counselors will be ongoing until our students don't need them anymore," said Spotsylvania County Public Schools spokeswoman René P. Daniels.
"You see something, you say something, and that saves a lot of lives," he said.
Pearce said Tuesday that authorities are continuing to interview anyone who may have heard about the alleged plot.
"They're not in trouble but we'd like to know" what they heard, he said.