Uvalde, Texas, is reeling the wake of the Tuesday shooting at Robb Elementary School which left 21 innocent people dead. Eerily, this turns out that, if it weren’t for the intervention of the Texas Rangers and the Uvalde Police Department, this could have been the second time the Texas community was hit with a mass school shooting.
In 2018, two teens were arrested for conspiracy to commit murder after law enforcement officials said they were plotting a shooting at an Uvalde middle school inspired by the Columbine massacre in 1999.
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Uvalde Chief of Police Daniel Rodriguez said in a media release at the time that the two boys charged in the crime, 13 and 14, planned a “mass casualty event against” Morales Junior High School, according to a May 2018 KENS-TV report.
The 13-year-old was a former student of the school while the 14-year-old was attending at the time of their arrest.
“The investigation revealed that the students were infatuated with the Columbine High School shootings and identified themselves to the shooters,” Rodriguez said. “The investigation uncovered that the students even referred to themselves using the Columbine shooter’s names.”
The planned attack was meant to target certain students in the Uvalde school.
“One of the students had numerous writings and drawings which depicted weapons capable of causing mass destruction. He wrote about being ‘God-like’ and killing police and other persons. He had an academic analysis of one of the Columbine shooter’s journals,” the release stated.
Law enforcement officials said the two boys originally planned to carry out the attack during their senior year, which was several years from that point — this year, to be exact. However, one of the two boys apparently wanted to move the attack up to 2018.
“According to the release, the teens were also planning on detonating IED’s before killing students from a list ‘ranked by priority,'” KENS reported. “After that, the release states the pair were going to kill at random before eventually turning the guns on themselves.”
Investigators from the Uvalde Police Department and the Texas Rangers began investigating the students in April of 2018. Mental health officials initially evaluated them on April 19, with the 14-year-old released to his mother’s care on April 23.
Then, on April 25, both were taken into custody for conspiracy to commit murder.
In a statement, the school district said the older student confessed to the plan after “experiencing a crisis.”
“Upon rendering aid and support, the student revealed a future plan to conduct a school shooting in the year of 2022. With the type of detailed information that was revealed by the student to law enforcement and confirmed in their investigation, the student has been arrested and will not be returning to our school,” Anne Marie Espinoza, the district’s executive director of communications and marketing, said in a statement.
“Our school district has a strong partnership with our local law enforcement agencies and emergency responders. They share our commitment to student safety, and we are working closely with them to ensure all information is thoroughly evaluated and our school is as safe as possible. We ask our parents to assist us in reminding their child/children of the importance of telling a staff member if they ever become aware of a plan to harm individuals or of a weapon at school.”
One parent told KENS that it “was scary” to hear about the plot against the Uvalde school.
“We hear it everywhere else, but you don’t expect for it to happen in your town,” the parent told the station. “I am glad they were able to control the situation before anything does happen. And that they actually did something about it.
“Sometimes you think they’re just going to hear it, and say it won’t happen and dust it under the rug, and they actually did something,” the parent said.
Meanwhile, a student told the station that the young men had sent up red flags before their arrest.
“Any kids that had talked bad about them or said anything they did not like, basically, they said they were going to go and kill them,” the student said. “You just felt unsafe. And teachers have been bringing it to our attention that you can’t be saying those things anymore. We can’t do that. It is wrong.”
According to Fox News, the high school in Uvalde was also forced to lock down a few years later when threats of violence were made. Those threats were traced to a former student, then 16, who was living in Puerto Rico.
“We have dealt with her before here, she went to school here in 2018. We had problems with her back then,” said Lt. Mariano Pargas Jr. of the Uvalde Police Department.
Despite the eerie coincidences, there’s no evidence that there’s any connection between these threats and Tuesday’s shooting. However, both sharply contrast with the events of this week.
Suspected shooter Salvador Ramos had sent up numerous red flags before Tuesday’s attack, including cutting his face with knives and using a BB gun to target people randomly.
In addition, police have come under fire for reportedly refusing to enter the school while Ramos holed himself up in a classroom.
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