Criminal Justice

Teens charged in alleged school shooting plot; probe included Internet surveillance

Two South Pasadena, California, teens are facing juvenile charges of making criminal threats in connection with an alleged plot for a mass shooting at their school.

The youths, ages 16 and 17, were arraigned in a closed hearing on Wednesday, report the Los Angeles Times and the Pasadena Star-News.

After the hearing, the stepfather of one of the boys apologized and said the teen was more of a thinker than a doer. “He had no intention of going to the school and actually harming the people that he loves,” the stepdad said.

School officials notified police about the alleged plan on Aug. 14, the Pasadena Star-News reported in an earlier story. The teens were arrested on Monday, three days before the first day of the school year. Police seized computers in a search of the boys’ homes but did not find any weapons.

South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller said at a news conference Tuesday that police reviewed the teens’ social media posts and conducted “Internet surveillance.” The teens mostly communicated through Skype, a police detective told the Pasadena Star-News.

Miller said the seized computers showed the youths had planned a “very, very viable” massacre. The youths had researched bulletproof vests, weapons and bomb-making devices online, Miller said.

“They were talking about mass murder,” Miller said. “In their mind, they would start randomly shooting children. I think the plan was very viable and that we got them in the beginning of their plot. …There was no target date, but they had a very, very specific plan about how they were going to carry out their sick mission.”

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