Two 15-year-old students in Pennsylvania are being charged with multiple felonies for allegedly plotting to shoot up their Pittsburgh-area high school in the days leading up to the school’s Thanksgiving break.
One of the students is charged with conspiracy to commit a felony, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, and reckless endangerment, according to court documents filed Thursday. The other is charged with conspiracy to commit assault, conspiracy to commit robbery, conspiracy to commit reckless endangerment, and reckless endangerment. Both boys are from McKeesport.
The boys reportedly began planning the attack as recently as two weeks ago. On Thanksgiving morning, one of the boys sat in a classroom at Moon High School with a .22-caliber handgun, pencil and box cutter, according to court documents.
In other classrooms, the boys allegedly pretended to make a documentary about the school and set up a video camera to film classmates as they walked through school corridors. Then they allegedly began planning how to carry out the school shooting.
“I don’t wanna hurt nobody but the person upstairs,” one of the boys allegedly told a classmate. “I can’t see killing a lot of people if I’m just gonna bring out a single gun.”
In meetings over the past several days, the boys plotted to disrupt the halls of the school, at one point asking classmates who they should shoot first, court documents say.
The boys also allegedly decorated school lockers with posters and pictures. One poster read, “Future good guys of PA,” along with an illustration of a gun, its barrel set on a school campus, and a microphone with “GOT KICKED” written on it.
On Wednesday, the students allegedly drove to the high school, where they “tried to gain access through a locked door.” They allegedly returned to the school the next day, with one of the boys carrying a disguised wig, and went to the principal’s office.
A school staff member confronted them at the door, saying their plan was too “simple.”
“What have you done?” the staff member said, according to court documents. “We want you back in the classroom. What’s going on?”
One of the boys went back to his classroom, but a school counselor stepped in, telling them to call the police.
Both boys later agreed to return to the principal’s office, where they were interviewed by police.
“After being interviewed by investigators, the two juvenile students disclosed that they intended to disrupt the school by causing ‘undesirable noise,’ ” an affidavit filed in court says.
The students reportedly told police the intended targets of the attack were the principal, the vice principal, an instructional aide, and a teacher.
The students are currently being held at a juvenile detention center. The boys’ attorney, Brian Dilks, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a public defender representing the 15-year-old in the conspiracy to commit a felony count will not represent the other student.
“These kids are both innocent,” the public defender said to the newspaper. “They did not intend to go through with this.
“It’s just a poor decision by some kids,” the attorney told the newspaper.
During his Thursday court appearance, the 15-year-old son of a local police officer told a judge he was not a threat to the school and wants to go back.
“I’m a very innocent and peaceful kid,” he said, according to the Post-Gazette.
The newspaper reported that the boy and his parents are optimistic their son will not be prosecuted. But the judge said: “You have no idea how angry this is for the students, staff and parents, if they thought you were that intent.”
“They have every right to feel this way,” the judge said. “This is serious stuff. It’s not a kid joke.”
The two students are being held at the Allegheny County juvenile detention center.
Court documents do not yet name the students’ alleged accomplices. No other criminal charges have been filed.