WOODSTOCK, Ga. (AP) — Two Georgia teenagers who made threats against a high school have been arrested in a plot authorities described Thursday as similar to the mass shooting at Colorado’s Columbine High School.
Alfred Dupree and Victoria McCurley, both 17, face charges including criminal attempt to commit murder for threats against Etowah High School and its staff, Cherokee County sheriff’s Sgt. Marianne Kelley told reporters.
“I talked to the detective earlier and I asked him, I said ‘what would you describe this as’ and he indicated that this would have been a Columbine-type incident in his opinion,” Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds said at a news conference.
In 1999, teenagers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded about two dozen others before both killed themselves at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.
The charges are based in part on writings in Dupree’s journal, which was discovered when investigators, tipped by a community member, met with him and his family on Monday, Kelley said.
Authorities said they were then led to McCurley after reading the journal entries.
“They had detailed plans of what they wanted to do and how they wanted to carry it out,” Reynolds said.
“The real hero in my opinion is the person that made the initial call, the tip,” the sheriff added. He didn’t identify that person.
A search of their homes found firearms, a powdered substance, and a flammable incendiary device.
Asked about a possible motive, Kelley told reporters “at this point we would like to know that as well. “That’s something that’s part of the investigation right now,” she added.
Reynolds said mental health may have been a factor. Both teens were evaluated before being arrested and charged.
At a court appearance Thursday, Dupree and McCurley were both denied bond. It wasn’t known whether the teens have attorneys who could comment on their behalf. At Thursday’s court appearance, family members told TV news crews that they had no comment.
Etowah High School is about 30 miles (50 kilometers) northwest of Atlanta.