Resource officer helps foil shooting plot by three Michigan teens

The arrests in Michigan follow similar foiled high school shootings around the country, illustrating the benefits school resource officers can have.

(Ian Terry/The Herald via AP)
Lacey Walker, center, a 2013 Marysville Pilchuck High School graduate, hangs a flower in a fence during a remembrance to mark one year after Marysville Pilchuck shooting school shootings on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015, in Marysville, Wash. On Oct. 24, 2014, the 15-year-old son of a prominent tribal family shot five of his friends in a Marysville Pilchuck High School cafeteria before taking his own life. Four of his teenage victims died.

Three teens have been charged in an attempt to carry out shootings at two Michigan schools, following similarly foiled shootings in towns across the country. In at least two cases, school resource officers were key to uncovering the plots. 

Police in Argentine Township, Mich., working with the FBI, investigated the plot and arrested the teens on Oct. 29, a day before they were reportedly planning to carry out shootings at Linden Middle School and Linden High School.

"There were potential targets at the high school and the middle school," said Argentine Township Police Chief Daniel Allen, according to MLive. "From what we gathered they didn't really care who else got in the way either."

The three boys have been identified as 18-year-old Ryan William Stevens, 15-year-old Lamarr Michael Dukes, and 15-year-old Cody Anthony Brewer. All three have been charged as adults. The charges include conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder and false report or threat of terrorism.

The arrests in Michigan are just the latest in a recent number of arrests around the country linked to possible school shootings. Two teens in Connecticut were arrested last week a few days after dressing up as the Columbine High School shooters for Halloween. A police investigation found that the teens made "threats of bodily harm to other students" at their high school.

In Virginia, two teenagers were arrested late last month in the early stages of planning a mass shooting. In early October, four students were arrested in connection with a shooting plot involving a California high school.

In Michigan, Allen commended the speed with which the investigation was conducted and the arrests made. The investigation began when a school resource officer got a tip on Oct. 28. The three teens were arrested the next day.

"I have come to find it can happen anywhere. No place is immune," Allen said. "You have to take the threats seriously, if they turn out to be credible you have to act as quickly as possible to avert the plan from happening. I was just thankful we could get ahead of it."

The Virginia plot was also discovered, and foiled, thanks to information gathered by a school resource officer. The presence of police in schools has come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks following an officer's violent confrontation with a girl at a high school in South Carolina, but advocates of school resource officers contend the officers play a crucial role in preventing school shootings, in part because they are able to learn of potential shooting plots before the occur.

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