WHITTIER, Calif. - Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies on Wednesday announced the arrest of two brothers after one of them allegedly plotted a mass shooting at El Camino High School in Southern California and 90 high-capacity magazines were found at their home.
Marino Chavez, a school security officer, overhead a "disgruntled student" threaten to open fire on the school, just two days after 17 people were gunned down at a Florida high school. Chavez recounted the boy saying, "within three weeks there will be a school shooting." The teen, who also said later that he was joking, was angry over a conversation he had with a teacher over the fact that he couldn't have earphones in class, Chavez said, adding that he didn't want to take any chances. The sheriff added the teen had an "extensive disciplinary record."
At a news conference, Sheriff Jim McDonnell said when deputies went to search the teen's home in Whittier, they found a Smith & Wesson, two AR-15 rifles, two handguns, and 90 military grade, high-capacity magazines. The teen's 28-year-old brother, an Army veteran, told deputies the guns were his and bought legally in Texas. The sheriff said one AR-15 was legal and one was not.
Also, some weapons were found in an open garage and in a hallway, and many of the guns were unsecured, the sheriff's department said. The older brother was arrested on five weapons offenses charges. The 17-year-old was arrested on charges of making criminal threats. Both arrests were made Tuesday night.
The brothers lived with their parents.
Police all over the country have been on high alert since 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz allegedly opened fire in the halls of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine's Day, killing 17 teachers, coaches and students.
McDonnell said it that although it was not clear how serious the student was about committing violence, after the attack in Florida, investigators' "main interest was to avoid letting anything like that happen."
In the last week, the FBI has been criticized for failing to act on a tip about threats made by Cruz in the past, and Chavez said the threat at his school showed the importance of heeding early warning signs.
"The Sheriff's Department can only respond if they are told," he said.