2 teen boys’ have plot to carry out school shooting foiled by their teachers
Phillip Byrd, 14, and Connor Pruett, 13, planned to carry out the shooting at Harns Marsh Middle School near Fort Myers, Florida, in a manner similar to the 1999 Columbine High School massacre.
Their plan was foiled when students informed a teacher that one of their classmates was carrying a gun in their bag. Administration staff were notified, and while the gun was not found after a search, a map indicating the locations of security cameras was discovered.
Lee County Police were then notified, and detectives discovered that Bryd and Pruett had been meticulously researching the Columbine shooting, attempting to learn how to construct a pipe bomb and researching how to buy guns on the black market. Police also searched their homes, discovering ammunition, guns, and a number of knives.
Carrie Tuller, Byrd’s mother, broke down in tears as she defended her son in court on Sunday, September 12. She stated:
“He’s just a little boy. He didn’t think this was really serious. He didn’t think they were serious.”
On Sunday morning, Philip Byrd and Connor Pruitt had their first court appearance. They were sentenced to 21 days in juvenile detention without speaking to the school or one another.
The sentencing came after they underwent a mental health evaluation before being taken into custody and charged with conspiracy to commit a mass shooting.
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