Friday, April 06, 2001

More teens accused in plot to stage shooting at school

The Associated Press

        LOUISVILLE — Five middle school students have been arrested after a fellow student tipped authorities that they were planning a shooting at Southern Middle School, Louisville police said Thursday.

        Police originally arrested two 14-year-olds and one 13-year-old, charging each Wednesday with one count of conspiracy to commit murder, and placing them in a juvenile detention center, said Bill Keeling, a Louisville police spokesman. Two more students, ages 14 and 12, were arrested Thursday, police said.

        Mr. Keeling said the plotted shooting may have been planned for Thursday.

        According to Mr. Keeling, a Southern Middle student told a Metro Parks officer Wednesday afternoon at a community center near the school that three of his classmates were planning a shooting. The officer notified police and the three students were arrested at their homes Wednesday. Mr. Keeling said evidence was collected from the school, but no weapons were found. Mr. Keeling also said the three students had no weapons when they were arrested.

        “Regardless of their intent, we are taking it as being serious,” Mr. Keeling said.

        Robert Knight, the school's principal, said the student who informed the parks officer had found a map of the school he believed to be drawn up as part of the shooting plan. However, Mr. Knight discounted rumors that a possible target list with students' names was ever found.

        “There was a drawing but there was no list or anything like that,” Mr. Knight said.

        Mr. Knight also said after television newscasts initially reported the arrests late Thursday morning, he received a flood of calls from concerned parents.

        “I talked to one mother who understood the situation and was calm about it but still wanted to take her daughters home,” Mr. Knight said. “But we've had very few students taken out of school today.”

        Classes were held Thursday.


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