Five Kan. students arrested in alleged shooting plot
The Associated Press
RIVERTON, Kan.- Five teenage boys accused of plotting to kill other students in a shooting rampage at their high school were arrested Thursday after details of the alleged scheme appeared on the Web site MySpace.com.
Sheriff's deputies found guns, ammunition, knives and coded messages in the bedroom of one of the suspects, Sheriff Steve Norman said.
Norman said he would ask prosecutors bring charges of conspiracy to commit murder against the young men, ages 16 to 18.
He said officials at Riverton High School began investigating on Tuesday after learning that a threatening message had been posted on MySpace.com.
The message discussed the significance of April 20, which is Adolf Hitler's birthday and the anniversary of the 1999 Columbine High School attack in Colorado, in which two students killed 13 people and committed suicide, the sheriff said.
"The message, it was brief, but it stated that there was going to be a shooting at the Riverton school and that people should wear bulletproof vest and flak jackets," Norman said.
School officials identified the student who posted the message and talked to several of his friends, Norman said.
Meanwhile, a woman in North Carolina who had chatted with one of the suspects on Myspace.com received a list of about a dozen potential victims and notified authorities in her state, who contacted the sheriff's department, Norman said.
Norman said that the potential victims were popular students and that the suspects may have been bullied.
"I think there was probably some bullying, name calling, chastising," he said.