Authorities Say School Shooting Plot At Whittier School Thwarted

Authorities say a plot to shoot up a Whittier school may have been thwarted thanks to an alert on-campus security guard.

Norwalk deputies responded to El Camino High School in Whittier on Friday to investigate a criminal threats call. Deputies say an on-campus security officer overheard a "disgruntled" student planning to carry out a mass shooting just two days after 17 people were killed at a high school in Florida. 

The teen reportedly made the threat at the continuation high school campus after he got into a disagreement with a teacher over wearing headphones to school. 

"Deputies learned that the 17-year-old had an extensive discipline history at the school," McDonnell said. "They also learned that a Smith & Wesson semi-automatic weapon was registered to his home address."

A school security officer, Marino Chavez told reporters that the teen said "that within three weeks, there would be a school shooting on campus." 

``He did say that he was just kidding, that he did not mean it,'' Chavez said. ``I said, `Well, you can't say those things on a school campus.'''

Investigators say they served a warrant at the teen's home and found two AR-15 rifles, two handguns, and a 90 high-capacity ammunition magazine. 

The teen's older brother, a 28-year-old Army veteran, said he owned the weapons. One of the rifles was found to be registered to the older brother, while the second rifle was unregistered. 

The teenager was arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats, while the teen's brother was also arrested on suspicion of charges including possession of an assault weapon, import of high-capacity magazines, criminal storage of a handgun, and failure to register a personal handgun. 

School officials say when they were alerted to the threat, the district sent a team of people, including the superintendent, the director of student and family services, the assistant director of alternative education, a school counselor and a district specialist to  speak with the student. Law enforcement was notified about the threat about 45 minutes after it happened. 

Police have scheduled a news conference Wednesday morning and will release further details then. 

Photo: Getty Images

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