A pair of teens who plotted to shoot multiple people in “a Columbine-type assault” at a Kamloops high school had access to guns and a list of named targets.
Details of the plot previously protected by a court-ordered ban on publication can be made public after prosecutors on Monday halted legal proceedings against the young duo.
The teenagers, a boy and a girl, as well as the school, cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The Crown agreed to stay charges against the pair in exchange for their completion of extra-judicial sanctions, which typically include community service and programming.
The teens had been charged with conspiracy to commit assault with a weapon and uttering threats.
They came to the attention of police on Feb. 7, 2019, when a vice-principal reported that one of them, the girl, had been talking about shooting up the school since the previous December.
Police interviewed school administrators, teachers and a school counsellor before conducting a locker search.
A counsellor told investigators someone had overheard the girl planning “a Columbine-type assault,” court heard, referencing a 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado that saw two students kill 13 classmates, then themselves.
The Kamloops teens’ cellphones were also seized. On them, investigators found conversations between the two discussing a potential shooting.
Court heard one conversation included a photo of the boy with a shotgun and the caption “locked and loaded.”
At one point, the boy said, “Let’s do it,” to which the girl responded by saying she had “always thought about” shooting up the school. The boy talked specifically about shooting students in the hallway of the school while they tried to escape, court heard.
The pair also exchanged school shooting memes and discussed the 2010 Foster the People song Pumped Up Kicks, which includes lyrics such as “You better run, better run, faster than my bullet.”
In the cellphone conversations, court heard, the boy mentioned one of the Columbine shooters by name and referenced the Trenchcoat Mafia, which is how the Columbine killers referred to themselves.
The boy discussed “the shedding of blood,” court heard, as well as the use of a chainsaw. He specifically mentioned students by name who would be targeted first.
The pair also discussed killing themselves after the shooting.
The boy’s Instagram account was named for a notorious U.S. school shooting and included text and images referencing mass slayings. The girl’s Instagram profile featured a photo of what appears to be a school shooting in progress.
The plot was not acknowledged publicly by police or school district officials until KTW reported on it in February 2019.
After the initial story was published, school officials sent a letter to parents of students in the district, assuring them such threats are dealt with seriously.
During a brief court hearing last week, court heard police seized firearms and ammunition from the boy’s family.
The boy will be banned from possessing firearms for one year.