Students arrested in elementary school plot
The small town of Pollock Pines was rocked Thursday when El Dorado County Sheriff’s deputies arrested three students who they said planned on taking several teachers hostage and setting off smoke bombs at Sierra Ridge Middle School.
Seven students between 12 and 13 years old were involved in what Sheriff’s Sgt. Hal Lamb called a highly detailed plot, but investigators said not all of them were willing to carry it out.
The alleged conspirators were planning to call in sick and steal a car and several weapons from one of their parents. They would then have driven to the school and set off smoke bombs inside, forcing everyone to evacuate, Lamb said.
When that happened, the students told investigators, they planned to hold as many teachers hostage at gunpoint as they could and lock them in two classrooms.
The would-be terrorists did not plan on injuring anyone, but would have taken the teachers hostage and defended themselves from police, according to Lamb. If their plan was successful, the students planned on fleeing and hiding in the woods.
“They were doing this for one reason and one reason only, and that was to get media attention,” Lamb said. “I am shocked that my detectives felt that these kids would go through with it.”
Deputies learned of the plot Wednesday when they were contacted by other students who knew of the conspiracy.
Investigators said their ability to prevent the terrible idea from becoming a reality was due to the cooperation of the school and the parents of students involved.
“The parents of the kids involved have all been terrific,” Lamb said.
“We regret that this happened,” said School Superintendent Molly Helms in a statement Thursday. “However, we are proud of the judgment shown by our students when they reported to us what was going on. We will continue our diligence to ensure that all schools in the Pollock Pines School District remain safe and secure.”
The three students who were arrested were booked into the El Dorado County juvenile facility and the other four suspects were released into their parents’ custody.
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