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Jennings County teens arrested after administrators, police foil school shooting plot

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NORTH VERNON, Ind. (Sept. 18, 2015)-- Police credit students and staff with stopping a school shooting plot in its tracks in southern Indiana. Two teenagers are behind bars in a juvenile detention facility after threatening to shoot up an event at Jennings County High School.

The teens are being held in the facility in neighboring Jackson County. North Vernon Police said one is a freshman, and the other is a sophomore. Both are 16 years old.

Sergeant Andrew Richmond with the North Vernon Police Department said the threats started this week. Some were on social media posts, others were face to face. He said it appeared clear this was a school shooting plot foiled.

“It all boils down to the bravery of the students that came to the school officials that kind of broke it up,” he said, “Those threats were to make a specific attack with a firearm by two students.”

Administrators got wind of the troubling comments Wednesday and launched an investigation with authorities.

“Their plan, I think, was to disrupt some activities during homecoming week,” said Dr. Terry Sargent, Superintendent of Jennings County Schools.

Police arrested one student Wednesday night and took the other into custody Thursday morning. Richmond said both face a preliminary charge of felony intimidation.

School officials said the two students did not have a previous history of behavior issues.

“You can’t always use prior disciplinary issues as an indicator of future violence, and previous acts in different parts of the country prove that,” said Richmond.

Still Friday, Jennings County High School and other schools in the district remained on a modified lockdown with added law enforcement presence. Superintendent Terry Sargent said the district notified parents of the credible threat Thursday afternoon.

“This one was pretty serious and probably more serious than most that we’ve had,” he said.

Parent Laura Eaines said she kept her 16-year-old daughter at home, worried about talk more students could be involved. Investigators said they believe the two detained were the only ones in on the plot.

“So far, we haven’t made any connections or come across any information stating that the plan was going to be continued by any other kids,” said Richmond.

The Jennings County Prosecutor’s Office did not have a timeline for formal charges to be filed against the teens. Superintendent Sargent said both students will be expelled.

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