TN Sheriff: Teens Wanted To Kill As Many Students As Possible In Planned School Shooting
Hawkins County, Tennessee deputies released more details during a press conference on Friday about a planned mass school shooting two boys were planning to take place at Volunteer High School. Officials charged both boys with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, among other charges.
Hawkins County Sheriff Ronnie Lawson said the two teenagers created an extensive plan to kill as many students and staff as possible at the high school.
Lawson said, “I want you to know that this wasn’t just a threat – it was a planned attack.”
Investigators searched one of the suspect’s homes and discovered several guns, gunpowder, firecrackers, floor plans of Volunteer High School, and journals, detailing the attack.
According to Lawson, the plans in the journals specified where to block the school’s exits and how to kill the school security officers first. The sheriff said the suspects even tried recruiting other students; officials have interviewed all of them.
Lawson said the mass school shooting at Columbine High School in 1999 inspired the planned attack on Volunteer High School.
“He took the time to study their plan of attack, and he found their mistakes they made that he would not,” said Lawson.
The 15-year-old was infatuated by serial killers and mass murders, said Lawson. The other suspect, according to Lawson, was infatuated with weapons, posting videos of military-style weapons, shot guns, and make-shift bombs detonated in Hawkins County.
The investigation into the planned attack started when a counselor contacted the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office on Oct. 25, 2013. The counselor told deputies a 15-year-old talked about his plans to kill students and staff at Volunteer High School.
As soon as the investigation began, the two teenagers weren’t allowed to return to the school. Lawson said once his department got involved, the students were no longer a threat to the public or the school.
Director of Hawkins County Schools Steve Starnes said the school has worked closely with officials to ensure students’ safety.
“We have taken on necessary precautions to ensure the safety of our students, and we’ll continue to remain vigilant in our effort,” said Starnes during the press conference.
Authorities charged both teens with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism, and possession of explosive components.
On Thursday, one of the suspects had a detention hearing in juvenile court. The judge set his bond at $75,000. While out on bond, the teen must be under house arrest and have full-time adult supervision.
A later date is set for the second suspect’s hearing.