ROGERSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — In their plans to shoot up a high school, two Tennessee teenagers studied the 1999 Columbine massacre, hoping to maximize the number of student and faculty deaths, according to officials who say they seized weapons and journals detailing attack plans.
The boys wanted to correct what they saw as mistakes made in the Colorado shooting, Hawkins County Sheriff Ronnie Lawson said, according to the Kingsport Times-News.
Authorities became aware of the plans for Volunteer High School in Church Hill last October after they were alerted by a counselor for one of the boys, who are 16 and 17 years old.
The boys were charged Thursday with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism and possession of explosive components. Both teenagers have been in custody on other charges since the investigation began. Arrest warrants on the new charges were issued several months ago but were served as the boys were about to be released.
Deputies searched the home of the younger boy last December and said they seized guns owned by the boy’s father as well as journals detailing plans for an attack, floor plans of the high school, fire crackers and gun powder.
Lawson said investigators also found videos the boys posted on the Internet of themselves holding AR-15 rifles and detonating Molotov cocktails.
He said the younger boy was obsessed with mass murders, serial killers and the Columbine shooting.
At a hearing in juvenile court Thursday, one of the boys was given a $75,000 bond with restrictions of house arrest, full-time adult supervision and restraint from all Hawkins County school property, Lawson said. The second boy will have a bond hearing at a later date.
Third Judicial District Attorney General Berkeley Bell said prosecutors still are deciding whether to ask that the boys be tried as adults.
Lawson said he could not release the names of the boys or give out any more specific information because the suspects are juveniles and because the investigation is ongoing.