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Mass shooting plot at Florida middle school foiled, deputies say

SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. -- Two teenagers were arrested Thursday for their involvement in a plan to carry out a mass shooting at the Villages Charter Middle School, the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputies told CBS Orlando affiliate WKMG-TV school officials became aware of a rumor circulating about a mass shooting to take place on Friday.

Authorities intercepted a 13-year-old boy Wednesday morning as he arrived for school. They said he acknowledged conversations involving the plot and referenced the shooting at Columbine High School.

Deputies said that, during a conversation with the 13-year-old, they learned a 14-year-old boy was potentially involved. The 14-year-old also acknowledged his involvement, referencing the Columbine shooting, too.

Deputies said the two admitted they planned an attack in which they would use a signal to open fire.

Sumter County officials said no weapons were found on either of the students, or in their bags or lockers. They were both arrested at their homes on Thursday during the execution of search warrants. Deputies said firearms were recovered at both their homes during the search.

Both students are charged with conspiracy to commit murder. They were placed into the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice.

School officials released a statement to parents Thursday night, writing in part, “Please trust that we have taken care of the situation and the safety of your child is always our first priority.”

Officials said there would be an increased deputy presence at the school Friday.