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Police say they thwarted shooting plot at Colorado school

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Roses and a sign of support are woven into a cyclone fence around a tennis court at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo., on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. The school was the scene of a shooting on Friday that left a student gunman dead and two other students injured. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) (The Associated Press)

Police in southern Colorado say they thwarted a school shooting plot by two teenagers, one of whom idolized mass shooters, just a week after a student opened fire in the halls of a suburban Denver high school.

Police Chief Charles Glorioso said Friday that the department’s school resource officer got a tip Thursday that two boys, ages 15 and 16, planned to carry out the attack at Trinidad High School after winter break. Because of the warning, extra security was in place at three Trinidad schools Thursday, the last day of classes before the break.

Glorioso said investigators learned the 15-year-old had been bullied and had said he idolized the Columbine High School and Colorado theater shooters. The teens were arrested Friday on suspicion of making a credible threat against a school and inciting destruction of life or property.

Glorioso, who said the boys planned the attack for about a month and a half, would not release the details of their plot or how they would carry it out. He did say a search of the teens’ homes did not turn up any weapons, but ‘‘they had talked about what they could do to get them.’’

It’s unclear if the teens have hired attorneys.

Glorioso commended the resource officer for acting quickly on the tip.

‘‘His thorough investigation uncovered the threats and put a halt to any plan made by these students,’’ he said.

Police have recommended the two be charged with inciting destruction of life or property, a felony, and interference with school, a misdemeanor, but it will be up to prosecutors whether to file charges.

Frank Ruybalid, district attorney for Las Animas and Huerfano counties, said that he couldn’t discuss the specifics of the case because it involves juveniles but that he supported the response by police and the school district.

‘‘Any evidence regarding a threat to students at our schools is going to be taken very seriously,’’ he said.

On Dec. 13, a student opened fire at Arapahoe High School south of Denver, critically wounding one student before killing himself.

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