Details were thin but South Pasadena police say they thwarted a “potential mass shooting” at South Pasadena High School.
Two students of the institution were arrested, and “enough evidence was discovered” to make authorities believe the alleged threats were legit, the South Pasadena Police Department said in a statement overnight.
Cops allege that three staff members were targeted for death and that the duo planned to kill …
… “as many students as possible with firearms.”
It's not clear if weapons were recovered after officers with warrants in-hand searched the homes of both suspects. The students were said in television reports to be 16 and 17 years of age.
Cops say one of the two was arrested without incident but that the other resisted, according to the South Pasadena statement:
… Officers had to force entry into his residence. He was captured in the home as he tried to run away from the arresting officers.
The police have the situation under control and there is currently no threat to students or employees. The School Board and I appreciate the immediate response by the South Pasadena Police Department, and school will begin on as planned.
Detectives worked “around the clock” to prevent any tragedy from taking police, the department said. Sgt. Brian Solinsky:
This is a prime example of school officials recognizing suspicious behavior. It was this information that helped prevent a horrific tragedy.
More information would be made available at a 10 a.m. news conference today at South Pasadena police headquarters, authorities said.
[Update at 1:25 p.m.]: South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller told reporters today that this was not taken by authorities to be a hoax:
In our opinion, it was very viable what they were plotting. They were making a huge plan of a school massacre that identified three staff members at the school by name that they were targeting, along with some random students, as they called it. They just wanted to, as they put it, they just wanted to kill as many people as possible.
He said cops found out about the plot Thursday and conducted online surveillance of the pair, including following their social media accounts:
They had a plan in mind that they were going to execute. And later on, during our investigative interviews with the suspects, they more or less confirmed what they had talked about, very cold-heartedly in the … interviews …
… There was some talk within the chatter on the Internet about making explosive devices, bombs and what not.
He said authorities, including the FBI, which was brought in to help with the investigation, believed the duo was “steadfast” in its plot.
No weapons were found, but one of the suspects allegedly said he had access to a relative's weapon, and the two did extensive research on the internet, Miller said:
They had researched weaponry, how to make explosives, how to disarm people. They were researching tactical elements on how to go in and be the aggressor with firearms.
The teens were being held on suspicion of conspiracy and criminal threats, police said. They were arrested Monday.
School starts Thursday. There will be extra security on-hand.