Two Florida teenagers were arrested Thursday for allegedly planning an orchestrated mass shooting at their Orlando-area middle school.
Local news reports said that one of the the two planned to drop a pencil during gym class to signal to the other to begin shooting.
Students who reportedly knew about the plot were told to wear white and shout “Eugene” to avoid being a target. Some students were told not to come to school altogether.
The two teens, ages 13 and 14, were arrested when deputies executed search warrants. Weapons were found at both suspects’ homes. The teens were charged with conspiracy to commit murder and were placed in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice.
According to Fox 35 Orlando, the teens are students at The Villages Charter Middle School. Officials at the school became aware of the alleged plot when they heard other students talking about it.
According to My News 13, Lake County Sheriff’s deputies questioned the 13-year-old who was allegedly planning the attack. The student told the police of the plot and referenced the Columbine shooting.
Deputies learned of the second teen involved in the planning. The 14-year-old also referenced the Columbine shooting when speaking with authorities, according to My News 13.
The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office expressed its gratitude to students who were “brave enough” for speaking up about the alleged mass shooting plot, according to WFLA-TV.
Ignacio Liunoras, who has two kids at the middle school, echoed the Sheriff’s office statements.
“I praise not only the students that reported it, but the parents that taught them to be aware of their surroundings and be aware of any dangers or unusual activity in the school.”
Security at the Villages Charter Middle School was expected to increase Friday.