Shooting Plot Summerville High School: Deadly School Massacre Plot Derailed, 4 Students Arrested

A shooting plot at Summerville High School in Sonora, California, was derailed, thanks to vigilant students and staff who alerted authorities last Wednesday.

The Modesto Bee reports that the shooting plot for Summerville High School was thwarted after students reported their suspicions. Tuolumne County Sheriff Jim Mele said he was presented with the case after school staff alerted him to the potential massacre. Three students were acting erratically, and their behavior drew attention, which ultimately got them arrested. A fourth suspect was discovered in the middle of the investigation.

Authorities found paperwork that the suspected students had, which indicated their intended targets. Investigators found “evidence verifying a plot to shoot staff and students at Summerville High School.”

The students who were arrested made confessions to law enforcement about details in their shooting plot for Summerville High School, which was to target specific teachers and students at specific times. They also wanted to kill as many people as possible on campus, Mele said.

“They were going to come on campus and shoot and kill as many people as possible on the campus. It is particularly unsettling when our most precious assets —which are our students, their teachers — are targets for violence.”

All four students — who aren’t being identified since they’re juveniles — were charged on Friday with conspiracy to commit an assault with deadly weapons. They were arrested on Friday afternoon and taken into custody at the Tuolumne County Probation Department.

Summerville High School (Credit: The Independent/Twitter)
Summerville High School (Credit: The Independent/Twitter)

While no weapons were located in the suspects’ homes, they were apparently very close to getting their hands on some firearms, Mele said. He explains that they were “pretty dog-gone close” and that they were “close enough to keep me up last night, to keep my detectives and lieutenants up last night.”

An event was coming up in which the students planned the shooting for their high school. Students reported hearing the boys talk about it.

Trying to figure out the difference between reality and what’s fiction — in addition to bullying and cyberbullying — has something to do with why these kinds of plans keep coming up in the country, Mele surmises.

“… I think children today have a hard time trying to understand the difference between what is reality and fiction. To say why, I don’t know why. I do know the discussion needs to start not only in our community, but throughout the nation, about what can we do to stop this violence.”

The New York Times reports that authorities issued two search warrants and confiscated the students’ electronic devices in their investigation. At the time of the report, Mele said investigators have “not yet analyzed their contents.” Assistant district attorney Eric Hovatter adds that his office will file charges based on the investigation.

A motive for the shooting plot at Summerville High School hasn’t been determined yet. So far, everything is based on theories. Until authorities talk more with the teens who orchestrated the plot, no one will know. They have made a few confessions at this point, so they may give investigators more to work with as far as a motive is concerned.

Parents, however, are reportedly unhappy about not being informed of the shooting plot until a day later, Fox 40 reports.

Shannon Duckworth has two students who attend Summerville High and received a text from her son about the shooting plot being thwarted.

“I got a text from my son who lives in Washington asking me what’s going on about this shooting plot. What shooting plot?”

Duckworth clarifies that she’s alright with how school officials handled the situation by notifying police, but she wishes that the school was more straightforward in letting parents know what was going on.

“We should’ve had full disclosure,” said Duckworth.

Other parents voiced similar concerns as Duckworth on social media.

Duckworth says in light of the shooting plot that was thwarted at Summerville High School, “If we can find some way to notify parents, not to scare us, just to let us know exactly what’s going on.”

[Photo Credit: Summerville High School Foundation]