Lehigh Acres, FL Teens Arrested for Conspiracy to Create Another Columbine

lehigh acres

Lehigh Acres, Florida has a population of around 107,000 residents near Fort Myers. On September 8, a Harns Marsh Middle School School teacher was told by a classmate that a student possibly had a gun in his backpack. That situation began an investigation which revealed a plot by two teens to start another Columbine style shooting.

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When school authorities searched the student’s backpack, they found no gun. But the search revealed a map that had markings which showed the positions of the school’s security cameras. It is fortunate that the investigation didn’t stop when no gun was found – the result could have been deadly.

No weapon was found, but the deputy allegedly discovered that the boys had spoken to each other during lunch about a school shooting plot. A map of the school was found that included the locations of surveillance cameras.

Police were notified and detectives found the boys had been researching the Columbine shooting, how to build a pipe bomb and how to buy guns on the black market.

Officers searched their homes and found guns, ammunition and knives.

The Evening Standard
Screenshot of some of the items police found during the search (Lee County Sheriff)

Two Lehigh Acres students, Connor Pruett, 13, and Phillip Byrd, 14, are well known to Lee County Sheriff’s deputies. Police had responded to their homes previously a combined 80 times.

Byrd’s mother Carrie Tuller defended her son in the court room on Sunday.

He’s just a little boy. He didn’t think this was really serious. He didn’t think they were serious.

Carrie Tuller, Phillip Byrd’s mother  (WINK)

From the items discovered, the map, the research, somebody was serious. The two were held at a Mental Health Facility just after their arrest, and detained for juvenile detention afterward.

The boys were charged with Conspiracy to Commit a Mass Shooting. At their first appearance on Sunday, they were ordered held at a Juvenile detention facility for 21 days. Lee County Sheriff’s Office was looking into an Extreme risk Protection Order to restrict the boys from access to weapons. Their next court date is September 27.

This could have turned disastrous. We were one second away from a Columbine here.

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno


Featured photo: screenshot via Police Tribune

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