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Virginia Students Charged With Plotting School Shooting

Officials said they were able to stop a planned attack on a Spotsylvania County, Virginia, high school with the arrest of two juveniles.

Investigators started looking into the plot after one student was arrested on Oct. 12 for posting something online that indicated plans to commit acts of violence against the students and staff of Riverbend High School. The student was charged with threatening violence by means of Internet and was ordered held in the Juvenile Detention Center.

Capt. Jeff Pierce, a spokesman for the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office, said during the investigation of the online posting, detectives found details that linked a second student to the alleged plot. The second student was arrested on Friday.

Investigators also executed search warrants at the homes of the juveniles, a 15-year-old and a 17-year-old, after they were made aware of possible guns. While at the homes, evidence was recovered, and additional charges of conspiracy to commit murder were added in both cases.

Police said the alleged plot was for a bomb threat to be called into the school. As students and staff were evacuating, the two students would shoot people as they came out.

Investigators said there was no specific person to be targeted, and they believe it was just to cause random casualties and violents.

Pierce said he did not know specifically what was found at the home to cause the additional charges to be filed. He said officials were not looking for any other person connected to the alleged attack.

The spokesman said the school was never on lockdown, because the investigation caught the alleged plot in the very early stages and the planned attack was not imminent. School officials were notified and kept abreast of new information as the investigation continues.

A letter was sent from the school system to parents of children who attended Riverbend High School. 

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Earlier this month, we shared with you that School Administration became aware of threats made against Riverbend High School through off campus electronic means.

During the ensuing investigation by School Administration, School Resource Officers (SROs), and Sheriff’s Office Detectives, additional information was discovered regarding a plan and intent to carry out the threats towards Riverbend High School. The responsible individuals are currently in the custody of the Sheriff’s Office.

We commend the students who alerted school administration about the texts and social media postings. Their actions enabled school administration and the Sheriff’s Office to quickly determine the individuals responsible and take appropriate actions to ensure the Riverbend community remains safe.

Please be assured that we make every effort to keep our students safe. Crisis plans are continuously reviewed, situational drills are conducted and measures are taken to ensure the welfare of our students and staff.

Parents, you can help by encouraging your child to talk to a teacher or administrator if they have concerns about the behavior of a fellow student. Explain that their cooperation is important for everybody's safety. Additionally, we understand that this situation may have affected your child and have counseling services in place to support them as needed. Students should contact the school counseling office or their teacher for assistance.

Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,
Dr. Troy Wright

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