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Teens In Tennessee Shooting Plot Studied Columbine

Teens In Tennessee Shooting Plot Studied Columbine

CREATED Jun 13, 2014
CHURCH HILL, Tenn. – Two male teenagers have been arrested after police said they planned a mass shooting at Volunteer High School in Hawkins County in East Tennessee. Police said the two were studying the 1999 Columbine shooting.

Investigators with the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office were able to move in and arrest the teens before any shootings could occur.

Sheriff Ronnie Lawson said they were fortunate to learn about the plan before something tragic happened. The teens started their planning last year. Officials became aware of the plot in October after being alerted by a counselor for one of the boys. 

Deputies searched the home of the younger boy in December, seizing guns owned by his father, as well as journals detailing plans for an attack. Also found were floor plans for the high school, fire crackers and gun powder. 

Deputies also found videos of the boys on the internet with AR-15s and Molotov cocktails. 

The two teens, ages 16 and 17, were charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and other related charges.They were in court Thursday. Both were already in state custody on other charges. 

Assistant District Attorney General Ryan Blakewell said the suspects could possibly be transferred to adult court. Blakewell said his office was evaluating further charges. Prosecutors have not decided whether to ask that the boys be tried as adults.

The Hawkins County Sheriff's Office was expected to release more details at a news conference Friday morning.

Incoming Director of Schools Steve Starnes told The Associated Press that currently there were no summer classes going on at any of the schools.

(NewsChannel 5 and The Associated Press.)