Teenagers Charged in Plot to Attack PA High School on Anniversary of Columbine Shooting

Four teenagers in Pennsylvania have been charged with plotting to attack their school on the upcoming 25th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre, authorities said Friday.

Fifteen-year-old students Zavier Lewis and Alyssa Kucharski are being charged as adults after police found detailed evidence of their plan to "shoot up" Dunmore High School outside Scranton, Pennsylvania, on April 20, 2024.

Two other students will be charged as juveniles, Lackawanna County District Attorney Mark Powell said Friday.

According to court documents, police uncovered text messages between the students discussing plans to attack the school with Molotov cocktails and various guns, with one student calling "dibs" on targeting a specific victim, Rochester First reported.

The students allegedly wrote that they "hated" the high school and wanted "everything to go down" like the 1999 Columbine shooting, in which 13 people were murdered and 21 injured.

During a search warrant at Kucharski's home, police found components for bombs, BB pellets, CO2 cartridges, a handwritten list of guns and tactical gear, and a five-subject notebook with a section devoted to the mass murder.

One entry in Kucharski's notebook reportedly read, "I think I'm gonna go with Klebold setup, (referring to Columbine shooter Dylan Klebold). A Tech-9 and a sawed-off shotgun, but instead of a double barrel, I want one like Eric shot" (referring to the other Columbine shooter, Eric Harris), Rochester First reported.

Kucharski's mother also told police her daughter was "obsessed with" the Columbine massacre. Another entry in Kucharski's notebook read "4-20-24 April 20, 2024, you'll all be dead soon anyways," according to the news outlet.

The mother of one of the teens charged as a juvenile discovered text messages in which the students discussed plans to "shoot up the school," the Associated Press reported. The teen told investigators that he didn't believe it until he saw 20 to 30 Molotov cocktails under Kucharski's porch.

During an investigation, Lewis told police he had never heard of the Columbine massacre until Kucharski told him about it, and the two started planning their attack in September 2020.

The two teens were taken to Northampton County Juvenile Justice Center and charged for weapons of mass destruction, terroristic threat, aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy and possession of explosive material charges, according to the AP. Preliminary hearings are scheduled for October 4.

"We are charging two students as adults because of the serious nature of the charges and to reassure the public that all threats to the safety of our children will be aggressively prosecuted. Two additional students have been charged as juveniles," Powell said in a statement on Friday.

The district attorney added that there is no active threat to the school district or community at this time.

"We are relieved that this plot was uncovered before anyone was hurt and urge anyone who has information about potential threats of school violence to contact police immediately," he said.

Newsweek contacted the Superintendent of Dunmore High School for additional comment, but did not hear back in time for publication.

Columbine Memorial
Four students in Pennsylvania were charged with plotting to attack their high school on the 25th anniversary of Columbine. Here, a man walks past crosses with the names of the victims of the Columbine High School shooting next to the Columbine Memorial on April 20, 2021 in Littleton, Colorado. Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images