2 Florida middle school students arrested in plotting Columbine-style shooting

THE VILLAGES, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say two students who were plotting a Columbine-style attack at a central Florida middle school have been arrested.

Sumter County Sheriff’s officials said in a news release that the boys, ages 13 and 14, planned the attack at The Villages Charter Middle School for Friday.

Deputies say rumors about a shooting began circulating Tuesday. The 13-year-old was questioned as he arrived at school Wednesday and told deputies he and another boy had talked about the plot. When the older boy was questioned, he mentioned the 1999 Columbine shooting that killed 12 students and a teacher at the Colorado high school.

Neither boy had weapons at school, but deputies say guns were found at their homes when they were arrested Thursday.

According to Fox 35, one of the students said that when he dropped a pencil during gym, that would be the signal to start shooting. Students who knew about the attack said they were told to wear white and shout “Eugene” as a safe-word so they wouldn’t get shot.

The boys were sent for psych evaluations and then booked into juvenile detention. They’ve been charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

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