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School Reopens After “Columbine-like” Threat

The AP via YellowBrix

December 15, 2009

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — Students returned Monday to a New Jersey high school that prosecutors say was the target of a “Columbine-like” plot and were greeted by a police presence that was intended to reassure that Bridgewater-Raritan High School was safe.

Authorities say a 16-year-old junior at the school was arrested Thursday after a police resource officer at the school was told the teen was planning an attack.

Officials also arrested a 17-year-old senior from nearby Immaculata High School, who is a competitive target shooter.

Police declined to name the individuals, but said they found shotgun shells, bullets, black powder and explosive devices in a search of the 16-year-old’s home.

Somerset County Prosecutor Wayne Forrest says the 16-year-old faces charges ranging from attempted murder to possession of destructive devices, and he’s being held at the Middlesex County Juvenile Detention Facility.

Police said a search of the 17-year-old’s home turned up several firearms registered to the boy’s father, as well as shotgun shells matching the ones found in the 16-year-old’s home. The 17-year-old is charged with possession of destructive devices.

Officials from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office said the two students, who were friends, allegedly worked together to buy PVC piping, wiring and electrical devices at a local Home Depot, and then use schematic drawings of improvised explosive devices to begin trying to assemble them in the 16-year-old’s home.

Bridgewater-Raritan High School was closed on Friday as a precaution. Counselors were on hand Monday to help students cope, and several students said attendance seemed lighter than usual.

“If that student hadn’t told on him, some of my friends could be dead right now,” said 18-year-old Scott Beaufait, a senior at the school. “This was a big shock.”

Mariel Johnson, a 17-year-old junior at the school, said everyone was talking about how there could have been an attack Monday morning if another student hadn’t told school officials of her concern over the boy.

“Today is more emotional, because it was supposed to happen today,” Johnson said, adding she was too distracted to take her chemistry exam and was going home sick.

Students and parents were notified Thursday night via text message and phone calls that the school was being closed Friday.

Principal James Riccobono addressed the 2,900 students before classes began Monday. The principal told them that acts of violence can happen anywhere and he praised a student for alerting authorities.

“In this day and age, there is not anywhere in the world that one can say, “I cannot believe that something like that can happen here,” he said.

Other Top News:

  • Somegiveall_max160_max160_max50


    over 4 years ago


    what the hell is going on in these kids heads today? hope they make a big showing of how this kid who told authorities ABSOLUTELY DID THE RIGHT THING.

  • Beckham_2012_032_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Always glad to see a good outcome like this!!!

  • Radio2_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Good job.. Thumbs up to the kids for being alert..

  • Cot_max50


    over 4 years ago


    disaster avoided. great job!

  • My_kids_027_max50


    over 4 years ago


    It's good to hear that there are still some kids out there that are brave enough to speak up when something like this comes up. This student needs to be commended for doing so.

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50


    over 4 years ago


    Glad the student spoke up; no telling how meny lives were spared. These two need to spend a lot of time behind bars.

  • Va_police_patch_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Good job to the student that spoke up. Hope both punks dont see the light of day for a very long time.

  • Native_clip_art_4_049_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Kid and SRO did good job. This madness could strike anywhere at anytime

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    Student did good

  • Img_0490_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Kids are allways under peer pressure. I think the student who came forward is a real hero! The SRO had a responsibility, and did a great job. They both saved lives! Unfortunately, their is no place left on earth that could be considered sacred. In general, society is a crazy place.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    Good job by both, student and SRO.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    Big thumbs up to the student as well as the SRO!

  • Untitledma28839986-0002_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Great job by the student coming forward and the SRO following through with the info.

  • In_remembrance_of_oakland_pd_max50_max50_max50_max50_max50


    over 4 years ago


    The student that brought this possible incident to the SRO should be commended for taking the right action. The SRO did a god job in following up and helping to stop it before it could happen. The two young boys are in serious need of mental health work.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    Too often stories like this plants ideas in the minds of other kids who assume a copycat role and try this at their school. Law Enforcement And Public Safety Television (LEAPS.TV) has three programs available today at no cost to qualified law enforcement personnel addressing school security and how to plan for and prevent these events. Go to where you can register. --John Kies--

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