‘Pretty doggone close’: 4 California students arrested over school massacre plot

© Jim Young
Four students have been plotting to “shoot and kill as many people as possible” at their high school in Tuolumne, California, according to authorities. Police arrested the suspects just a day after a mass shooting at an Oregon college left nine people dead.

The arrests of the students from Summerville High School, in Tuolumne, California, were made Friday after the investigators discovered a “detailed” plan of a school-shooting massacre. All suspects were apprehended at their homes on suspicion of conspiracy to commit an assault with deadly weapons.

“The suspects’ plan was very detailed in nature and included names of would-be victims, locations and the methods in which the plan was to be carried out,” Tuolumne County Sheriff James Mele told reporters.

The names of the suspects have not been released, but all four are male students at Summerville High School, where the alleged slaughter was intended to have taken place. All of the suspects confessed to having plotted the killing.

According to police, their investigation into the alleged conspiracy began Wednesday, after classmates told school staff that they overheard their fellow students plotting the shooting. The school then contacted the authorities.

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“Detectives located evidence verifying a plot to shoot staff and students at Summerville High School,” Mele said. “They were going to come on campus and shoot and kill as many people as possible on the campus.”

They were “pretty doggone close” to being able to carry out the attack, as four suspects were in the process of securing their murder weapons, Mele said.

The sheriff blamed video games and bullying as a possible motive behind the students' thirst to kill their fellow students and teachers.

“Cyber-bullying is a problem in our society,” he said. “I think children today have a hard time trying to understand what is reality and what is fiction.”

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The successful work by police in California to thwart the mass shooting came just a day after a mass shooting took place at Umpqua Community College, Oregon, United States.

Christopher Harper-Mercer, a 26-year-old student, fatally shot nine people and injured nine others on the campus. He killed himself during a gun battle with police officers.