Four teenagers have been accused of planning a violent attack on their own Pennsylvania high school inspired by the Columbine massacre.
Two students are on trial as adults and two as minors by the Lackawanna County District Attorney after high school students were charged with conspiring to carry out a mass attack on Dunmore High School on April 20, 2024 – the 25th anniversary of the Columbine shooting in 1999 which killed 15 people and injured 24, The Associated Press reports.
The two teenagers on trial as adults have been identified by local ABC affiliate WNEP as Alyssa Kucharski and Zavier Lewis, both 15 years old.
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Kucharski, whose mother said The Times-Tribune his daughter was “obsessed with Columbine”, had stored “a Molotov cocktail, bomb components, literature on bomb making and handwritten lists of firearms, ammunition and tactical equipment” at home, according to a criminal complaint, by PA.
The mother of one of the two teenagers accused of being minors in this case said she found texts on the student’s cell phone from July, which included a group discussion about plans to “shoot about the school, “investigators said in the lawsuit complaint, by PA.
The anonymous teenager did not buy into the legitimacy of the plot until he discovered “20 to 30 Molotov cocktails” on Kucharski’s porch, PA reports he told investigators.
Dunmore High School principal Timothy Hopkins was the target of the planned attack, according to the Times-Tribune. The administrator told the outlet that he knew both Kucharski and Lewis, whom he described as silent, noting that they had never caused any problems.
“It’s a little unsettling to find out that something like this is going on,” he said.
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Kucharski and Lewis were transported to the Northampton County Juvenile Justice Center after an arraignment on September 16. Kucharski is charged with Possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Terrorist Threats, Aggravated Assault and Conspiracy, while Lewis is charged with Possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Possession of Explosive Material, criminal association, terrorist threats, criminal association and aggravated assaults, according to ABC 27.
“While the investigation is ongoing, I want to assure parents, students and staff at Dunmore High School that we do not believe there is an active threat at this time,” the prosecutor said. District Mark Powell in a statement, by PA. “We are relieved that this plot was uncovered before anyone was injured and urge anyone with information about potential threats of school violence to contact the police immediately.”
This is an important message from the Dunmore School District. Please see below. pic.twitter.com/1nAiWeTXNm
– Dunmore SD News (@dsd_news) September 24, 2021
Dunmore School District issued a statement to Twitter also assuring faculty, students and community members that there was no “present danger” now that the suspects had been taken into custody.
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“The Dunmore School District has been informed that a joint investigation is being conducted by Dunmore Police and the Lackawanna County District Attorney’s Office into allegations of threats against the school district and its employees,” the statement read. “Please note that the administration has been informed that the alleged perpetrators are in custody and we have been assured that there is currently no danger to students and staff.”
PEOPLE have contacted Dunmore School District Superintendent John Marichak and the Lackawanna County District Attorney for comment, but have not had a response at the time of publication.