February 3, 2006
Three Albemarle County students have been arrested. Police said all three were conspiring to carry out violent attacks on local schools.
Police believe these weren't just idol threats. They thought these three teens, ages 16, 15 and 13, would have acted on their plan that included using guns and explosives.
The three students are facing two felony charges for conspiring to commit murder and plotting to use explosives to destroy a school house. Police say the targets were Western Albemarle and Albemarle High Schools.
“We really believe that these acts would have been carried out probably in a couple of months,” said Albemarle County Police Chief John Miller.
The teens -- all friends but from different schools -- allegedly planned the threats in an internet chat room. The 16-year-old is a student at Western Albemarle High School. The 15-year-old is student at Albemarle High School and the 13-year-old a student at Jack Jouett Middle School.
Few details were given about exactly what the kids were planning to do but police confiscated two shot guns and three computers during the investigation.
"Certainly they were acts that were going to injure people but there has been nothing that we know that has been targeted. There has been no name mentioned or any specific targets," continued Chief Miller.
Sources close to the case say it was a parent that clued them in on the plot Monday. Police arrested the teens this week and say they are positive they have all the students involved in the alleged threat. The school system has also taken action against the kids.
"These students [have been] suspended from [their] schools and that parallels our policy that at any time if a child has been charged with a felony, that we take immediate action," said Albemarle County School Superintendent Dr. Pam Moran. She said the school will take more final action after the courts render their decision.
Police have stepped up patrols at all three schools and say at all times their priority was the safety of the students.
"There was no potential present threat to anyone that works at the school or attends the school," said Miller.
The juveniles have been placed in detention and police say all three have no prior criminal records however the school would not comment on any prior history.
If convicted, the commonwealth's attorney says the kids face detention until they are 21 years-old, or if tried as adults they could be put in jail for up to 20 years.
Police also ask anyone who may have more information or who may have heard anything about these threats to come forward and they urge ask parents to get more involved with their kids and see what they are doing on the computer.