The 13 and 14-year-old boys reportedly attempted to purchase firearms on the black market & “extensively studied” the 1999 Columbine school shooting.
Two middle school students in Florida were reportedly arrested for plotting out a shooting at their school. For decades, America has been plagued with school shootings—tragic events that have resulted in the loss of hundreds of innocent lives. It is a topic that has been at the heart of political debates on all sides of the spectrum, so when two boys, 13-year-old Phillip Byrd and 14-years-old Connor Pruett, were found to be planning a shooting inspired by Columbine, authorities swiftly took them into custody.
Back in 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shot and 12 students and one teacher before turning their guns on themselves at Colorado’s Columbine High School. It continues to be one of the most prolific moments in American history, but it was not the last school shooting to wreak havoc.
The two middle-schoolers from Lee County, Florida attended Harns Marsh, an institution that is reportedly only two hours away from where the Parkland school shooting took place. According to The Guardian, the plot was thwarted after students told their teachers that one of the boys may have had a firearm in his backpack. The bag was searched and while a gun was not located, “the search did reveal a map of the school with marks indicating the locations of interior cameras, Sheriff Carmine Marceno told reporters on Thursday.”
The students who came forward to warn school administrators were commended by staff. The boys were reportedly no strangers to authorities as police had already visited their homes upwards of 80 times. Byrd’s mother, Carrie Tuller, spoke out in court on behalf of her son.
“He’s just a little boy,” she said. “He didn’t think this was really serious. He didn’t think they were serious.”
The boys were taken to the Southwest Regional Juvenile Detention Center where they will remain for the next 21 days. They are not allowed to have contact with one another or their school. Their next court date is September 27 and it will be then that a judge determines what happens to them next.