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Mich. Teens Charged in Shooting Plot

May 15, 1999

PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) _ Four boys have been charged with plotting a shooting at their middle school similar to the April rampage at Colorado’s Columbine High School.

Justin Schnepp and Jedaiah Zinzo, both 14, were charged as adults Thursday with conspiracy to commit murder for allegedly planning to kill classmates at their 560-student Holland Woods Middle School. The two remained in custody Saturday on $100,000 bail each.

The two others, ages 12 and 13, have been charged as juveniles with the same crime. They also remained in custody on Saturday.

``They planned to commit ... a slaughter and massacre of Holland Woods students,″ said Mary Kelly, a St. Clair County assistant prosecutor. She said the plot ``had been in the planning and in the making for over a week.″

The four were arrested on Wednesday and Thursday at their homes.

Prosecutors allege the teens planned to top the death toll of the April 20 massacre at Columbine, where Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shot 12 students and a teacher before committing suicide.

The district’s 12,000 students were told to stay home from its 21 campuses after a bomb was discovered near the Holland Woods campus on Thursday night. A janitor found the device shortly after parents and school officials met there to discuss the boys’ alleged plot.

Police say the bomb was not connected to the alleged plot.

Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said they rendered the bomb useless, but have declined further comment.

The boys’ alleged plans were discovered after a 14-year-old girl told police she overheard them talking about an elaborate killing spree. She told police she overheard some of the boys saying they wanted to kill all the school’s ``preps,″ the popular clique of students.

The girl told police the Michigan boys said their plan was to go on a shooting spree in a gym assembly and detonate a bomb afterward.

School officials canceled weekend sports events and were conducting school-by-school inspections before planning to announce Sunday whether classes will be held this week.

Update hourly