Authorities have arrested four students in connection with an alleged plot to carry out a mass killing at a Pennsylvania high school,
Two of the four teens involved in the purported plan are being charged as adults, while the other two will have their cases heard in juvenile court.
Lackawanna County District Attorney Mark Powell said that the two teens being charged as adults are facing heavy penalties due to the severity of their purported actions and "level of culpability" in the alleged plot.
What are the details?
According to local reports, authorities arrested no fewer than four students who reportedly conspired to execute a bombing and shooting at Dunmore High School in April 2024 — the 25th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting.
Authorities say that 15-year-olds Alyssa Kucharski and Zavier Lewis will be charged as adults for their purported roles in the alleged plot.
According to NBC News, investigators were tipped off to text messages in which the students discussed plans to "shoot up the school," with one specific student calling "dibs" on a victim.
The students also reportedly expressed their hatred for Dunmore High School and said they wanted "everything to go down like that," referring to the Columbine mass shooting.
The unnamed mother of one of the teens being charged as a juvenile revealed that she discovered concerning text messages on her child's cellphone on July 6. The teen, according to the outlet, told investigators that he didn't believe that the texts were serious until he saw about 20 to 30 Molotov cocktails underneath Kucharski's porch.
Upon further investigation, authorities discovered bomb-making materials as well as comprehensive lists noting types of guns, corresponding ammunition, and other tactical gear needed to execute the attack.
Investigators said that Kucharski's mother also told local authorities that her daughter had a deep obsession with the Columbine mass killing, which took the lives of at least 13 students and injured dozens more.
The Lackawanna County District Attorney's Office charged the students with unlawful possession of weapons of mass destruction, terroristic threats, aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy and possessing explosive material. Kucharski is also facing a charge of "risking catastrophe" due to reportedly storing dangerous devices at her home.
Kucharski and Lewis are being held without bail at the Northampton County Juvenile Justice Center. The two are scheduled to attend a preliminary hearing on Oct. 4.
WGAL-TV reported that the two unnamed teens are facing juvenile charges.
What else is being said about this?
School officials and law enforcement are asking students with any information to come forward.
In a statement, Dunmore Superintendent John Marinchak said, "This administration is going to meet with all the kids at the grade levels and explain to them that there are resources available for them to come forward and talk to people. We have guidance counselors who are professionally trained, and we have some mental health professionals in both buildings. We know that's it's a very harrowing and scary situation and we're grateful that we were able to figure this out beforehand."
Powell added in a statement, "While the investigation is ongoing, I want to assure the parents, students and staff at Dunmore High School that we do not believe there is any active threat at this time. We are relieved that this plot was uncovered before anyone was hurt and urge anyone who has information about potential threats of school violence to contact police immediately."
Dunmore High School Principal Timothy Hopkins — one of the would-be "victims" purportedly being targeted by the teens — said that he was shocked to learn of the students' plans and described them as quiet students who were not troublemakers.
"It's a little bit disturbing to find out something like that was being plotted," he admitted.