Four middle schoolers were arrested this week after allegedly planning a “Columbine-style” school shooting on Instagram, according to the Hill.
The male and female teens, aged 12 to 13-years-old, messaged each other through the social media platform to plan the attack, which was targeted at specific students and one teacher at Carver Middle School in Laurel Hill, North Carolina. The students had a list of people to kill, according to the State.
The Scotland County Sheriff’s Office is currently “performing digital analysis of the students’ phones and social media accounts,” the State reports.
In an Instagram message, one of the students said they wanted to re-enact the Columbine High School massacre. In 1999, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris opened fire on their fellow classmates and faculty members, killing 13. Almost 20 years years later, the Columbine shooting is still one of the deadliest school mass shootings in history.
Administrators at the middle school found out about the social media plot on Jan. 22. The school alerted the sheriff’s office two days later, after conducting its own “internal investigation.”
According to the State, there was a “mastermind” of the plot, and there is “reasonable suspicion” that this person had access to weapons. Four students face felony charges of “communicating threats against a school,” but six students were “possibly involved,” and more charges could soon be filed.
As of Thursday evening, the students were at home, but the sheriff’s office had reportedly filed a petition to secure the four in a juvenile detention center.
Instagram did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment.
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H/T the Hill