A plot by a “disgruntled” student who was planning a mass shooting within weeks at a Southern California high school was thwarted after a security guard overheard a conversation last week, authorities said Wednesday.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said at a news conference that a security guard at El Camino High in Whittier, east of Los Angeles, overheard the 17-year-old student on Friday threaten to open fire in a matter of weeks.
“Parents, this should be a wakeup call; please talk to your kids,” McDonnell said. “We owe students, parents and teachers our gratitude for providing these leads.”
The sheriff said the weapons found at the teen’s home included two AR-15 rifles and 90 high-capacity magazines.
McDonnell called the school security officer, Marino Chavez, an “unsung hero” for alerting authorities.
Chavez said the teenager made the comments at a lunch break on Friday, after he had a disagreement with a teacher because he’d brought headphones to school. Students are not allowed to have electronic devices out during class time.
The security guard then confronted the teenager and asked him what he meant, to which the teenager replied there would be a school shooting “within three weeks” on campus.