PLEASANT HILL, Calif. - A 13-year-old student allegedly planned a mass shooting for Thursday at a middle school in Pleasant Hill, in a threat where Snapchat tipped off the FBI.
The threat comes slightly more than a month after a high school freshman in nearby San Ramon had been plotting a school shooting on the anniversary of the Columbine massacre.
Thursday is the last day of school Valley View Middle School, and many students planned to spend the last few days at home.
"At first I thought it was a joke," said Isaac Spencer, whose younger brother attends the school. When the reality set in, Spencer said he found the plot "horrifying. It's insane."
Nan Munoz said her two middle schoolers won't be going to school, likely for the rest of the week. "My son is worried that his friends will carry out the plan," she said. "And his feelings are valid."
She said she's been frustrated that there has been minimal information sent out by the school, referring to the intended massacre as an "incident." "We have not gotten enough details," she said. Her sons do not know the boy in question.
As early as Friday at 6 p.m., the FBI notified Concord police about a message on social media that was shared between two students of Valley View Middle School at 181 Viking Drive. The East Bay Times reported the boy used Snapchat to tell another student of his plan and the company, in turn, told the FBI.
The message contained a homophobic slur and a pledge to kill “at least 30 people” on the last day of school, the newspaper reported. The message was typed on a caption of actress America Ferrera, and contained 30 gun emojis.
Pleasant Hill and Concord police officers served a search warrant at a Martinez home and seized several guns and arrested the teen, said Lt. David Nichols. The boy was taken to Contra Costa County Juvenile Hall on suspicion of terrorist threats.
"This incident could have been the next school shooting, but because of the partnership we have with our private sector and local law enforcement partners, it was prevented," FBI spokesman Prentice Danner said.
On Facebook, Valley View Principal Lisa Sullivan said out of an abundance of caution, "We will add supervision on campus as well as provide counseling if needed to help ensure students and staff feel safe. This has been a difficult year as schools around the nation have been receiving threats daily. We take every threat very seriously."
Sullivan sent one email home to parents on Sunday, but has not sent out any since. She posted an updated Facebook post on Monday night, sharing the police account of what happened, according to parents.
This threat comes after a California High School freshman in San Ramon, who hated three of his intended victims, was arrested after he had been planning a school shooting to take place on April 20, 2021 - exactly 22 years after the deadly Columbine shooting.
As first reported in East Bay Times, the boy allegedly called his plan "Columbine 2.0."
San Ramon police learned of the plan after the teen tried to recruit a friend, who later informed a school resource officer. Police confirmed the teen had an elaborate plan and that he planning to use the same guns that were used in the Columbine High School shooting and build bombs.
The Columbine shooting occurred on April 20, 1999. Students Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, opened fire at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, killing 12 classmates and a teacher and wounding 26 others before killing themselves in the school's library.
Since Columbine, the Washington Post has tracked how many children have been exposed to gun violence. The Post has found that at least 141 children, educators and other people have been killed in assaults, and another 287 have been injured.
So far this year, there have been about two dozen school shootings where someone who has been hurt or killed, according to CNN. That averages to more than 1 shooting a week.
The highest profile shooting was on Valentine's Day in Parkland, Florida, when Nikolas Cruz, 19, gunned down 17 students and adults.
KTVU's Alex Savidge contributed to this report.