Two South Pasadena High School students were arrested Monday after police gathered enough evidence regarding a planned mass shooting to take them into custody, South Pasadena Police announced the same day. As KTLA in Los Angeles reported Aug. 19, the teens had made extensive plans to conduct a "massacre" at the school, killing "as many as possible," including several targeted individuals as well as random student targets.
Chief Arthur Miller of South Pasadena Police stated at a press conference Monday that the two teens, ages 16 and 17, had confessed "coldheartedly" their intentions of entering the high school and carrying out a mass shooting.
"It was very viable, what they were plotting," Miller said. "They were making a huge plan of a school massacre that identified three staff members at the school by name that they were targeting." He added that they were planning to kill "random" students.
He concluded: “They just wanted to kill as many people as possible."
The plot was brought to the South Pasadena Police's attention by school officials who had been contacted by a concerned member of the community who had somehow learned of the teens' plans. Police kept them under "Internet surveillance" on a social media platform frequented by the teens until a search warrant could be obtained. The boys were subsequently detained.
Miller said the teens were just in the beginning phase of carrying out the planned attack. No weapons were recovered, but the police chief said that the teens discussed using automatic weapons, knives, bombs and wearing bulletproof vests during their future rampage. At present, it is unclear if any of the items had been obtained.
“They didn’t have a target date but they had very, very specific plan as to how they were going to carry out their sick mission,” the chief added. Miller noted that the boys' parents were "stunned" but cooperative when apprised of their sons' alleged plans to conduct a mass shooting.
Classes at South Pasadena High School are scheduled to begin on Thursday, Aug. 21. According to authorities, an increased police presence will be on hand.
As students and school staff and administrators across the nation head into a new school year, at least part of everyone's focus will be on school security. And rightly so, given the range of harmful acts that could potentially take place that could very well place lives in danger. To shed a little light on the problem, it should be noted that the thwarting of the South Pasadena High School "massacre" wasn't the only incident in the U. S. in the first days of the new school year that showed a potential for harm to those headed back to school.
The first full day of school was moved back a day to Wednesday at Westlake High School in Saratoga Springs, Utah, after police received a bomb threat via Skype and spent a good part of the day securing and searching the school. According to Deseret News, the bomb threat came at a time when school officials could not call off school, so when students arrived, they were turned away. Police are now searching for the individual that called in the bomb threat, which proved to be a hoax.