Four teenagers have been charged with plotting a mass shooting at a Pennsylvania school on April 20, 2024, the 25th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado, authorities said Friday.
One of two teens who were charged as adults is a 15-year-old girl whose mother described as “obsessed with Columbine,” according to prosecutors. During the investigation, she was found with a Molotov cocktail, bomb-making material and a detailed list of guns, ammunition and tactical gear she was hoping to buy ahead of the attack, according to Lackawanna County officials.
The girl and a 15-year-old boy who is also charged as an adult were arraigned in a virtual court hearing Friday, Scranton newspaper The Times-Tribune reported. Two other teens whose ages have not been released are facing charges in juvenile court for their alleged involvement.
The target was Dunmore High School in the northeast part of the state.
Dunmore High School in Dunmore, Pennsylvania
“While the investigation is ongoing, I want to assure the parents, students and staff at Dunmore High School that we do not believe there is any active threat at this time,” District Attorney Mark Powell said in a statement. “We are relieved that this plot was uncovered before anyone was hurt and urge anyone who has information about potential threats of school violence to contact police immediately.”
The investigation began in early July after the mother of one of the suspects found a text message on her child’s cellphone about their plans to “shoot up the school,” authorities said. Her child later told police that he wasn’t taking those discussions seriously until he saw 20 to 30 Molotov cocktails at the teenage girl’s home, according to prosecutors.
“She’s gonna do something,” he allegedly told investigators.
The text messages also named specific people the group was planning to kill, including the principal, a school resource officer and a teacher, authorities said.
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Officials with the Dunmore School District said in a statement that authorities have assured them “there is no current danger to students or staff.”
Police said they charged two of the teens as adults because of their “level of culpability” in the plot, according to the Times-Tribune. The pair, identified as Alyssa Kucharski and Zavier Lewis, was charged with possession of weapons of mass destruction, possession of explosive material, terroristic threats, aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy.
Kucharski was also charged with risking catastrophe because the explosive devices at her home posed a threat to her family and neighbors, according to police.
The 1999 Columbine shooting was carried out by two heavily armed students who opened fire inside their school, killing 12 fellow students and a teacher before turning the guns on themselves.Internet Explorer Channel Network