Heading off a Columbine

first_imgLANCASTER – Two high school students were arrested on suspicion they planned a Columbine-style attack next Valentine’s Day at Quartz Hill High School in retaliation for being teased for their “Goth” appearance. The boys, ages 15 and 17, who had been on probation in connection with a 2003 assault in which a 14-year-old boy was sodomized with a metal rod, had acquired bomb-making instructions off the Internet and detonated practice bombs in the desert, authorities said. “We believe this was a legitimate threat, that it was going to happen if everything came together for them,” Lancaster sheriff’s Capt. Carl Deeley said. “Fortunately, it did not.” The suspects had attended Quartz Hill High School but were transferred to other schools because of discipline problems this fall. The 15-year-old enrolled at Desert Sands Charter School and the older boy at Littlerock High School. On April 20, 1999, 12 students and a teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., were shot to death by two teenage gunmen who then killed themselves. Deputies said the girl reported being told by friends that the 15-year-old did not like her and was planning to kidnap and torture her and cut off her arms and legs. The information was passed on to school deputies at Quartz Hill and Littlerock high schools. A search of the 17-year-old’s house in Lancaster turned up ammunition, a knife and puzzles about murder and suicide, among other items, deputies said. Deputies recovered at the 15-year-old’s Quartz Hill residence a gas mask, carbon dioxide canisters, and pictures of Columbine shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, Oklahoma City bombers Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, Charles Manson, and Lee Harvey Oswald. Deputies also found knives, anti-government and hate literature and printed instructions downloaded from the Internet on how to make bombs. The 15-year-old told detectives that the pair had been experimenting with – and had exploded – carbon-dioxide canister bombs, Molotov cocktails and light-bulb bombs. The boy showed investigators an injury, the result of a “propane-type pipe bomb” prematurely detonating and sending a screw through a finger. The boy said he was going to get guns through an unidentified friend from a pawn shop, detectives said. The boys, who dressed in the Goth style, characterized by black clothing, black makeup and nail polish and piercings, said they felt ostracized at Quartz Hill High, deputies said. “They were called names,” Detective Steve Owen said. “They didn’t like it and wanted to retaliate against them by killing them.” The arrests were announced at an afternoon press conference Friday at the Lancaster sheriff’s station, with Antelope Valley Union High School District and city officials in attendance. “We think it can’t happen in our schools, town or workplace,” Councilman Ed Sileo said. “The fact is it can and it does. We can’t stick our head in the sand. If you hear of these things, step up and tell someone what you heard.” Karen Maeshiro, (661) 267-5744 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake Both were arrested Thursday, the 17-year-old at Littlerock High and the younger teen at home, on suspicion of making criminal threats and conspiring to commit murder. Authorities said the 17-year-old admitted that the plan included shooting students and using improvised explosive devices. The 15-year-old said the plan was to “kill all of the students who have made fun of him at school and then commit suicide.” The attack was planned for Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 2006, a date picked because of a song by shock rocker Marilyn Manson. Both boys, whose names were not released because of their ages, were being held at Sylmar Juvenile Hall and will appear in Juvenile Court next week. The purported plot came to light Wednesday when a girl contacted a Quartz Hill High vice principal and reported that the teens were planning a Columbine-type attack on the school. last_img read more