It is alleged the students discussed carrying out a mass shooting at their suburban Quebec City school on Facebook. Police and school officials believe the teens were serious about committing mass killings.
Three teens, two boys aged 14 and 15 and a 16-year-old girl were arrested at their homes early yesterday morning. All three are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit murder. The names of the students cannot be released under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
The arrests came after school officials at the school, Le Sommet, learned of the plot and contacted police. Yves Savard, the school's principal, was quoted by CBC as saying that in light of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut last month, administrators were not taking any chances. He said, "If I called the police, it's because I judged that it was a serious situation and I did not want to take any chances. Otherwise, we do not know what could happen." CNEWS reports Le Sommet posted a statement on their website saying the situation is serious and asking anyone who sees a threat on Facebook to immediately contact authorities.
The postings on Facebook revealed a plan to use guns and explosives to kill students, administrators and teachers at the school. A search of the students' lockers did not locate any weapons and police are not saying if the teens had any actual access to guns and explosives to use in carrying out the plot. Police did seize electronic devices.
After interviewing the students, police formed the opinion that the threats were serious enough to warrant conspiracy to commit murder charges. The National Post reports Catherine Viel, a spokeswoman for the Quebec City police, as saying the plot "was a clear plan to cause the deaths of many people at the school." She said the use of guns and explosives were specifically part of the plot.
The arrests came one day after four Toronto high school students were charged with over 40 gun related charges after a loaded .357 Magnum was seized at their school.
The Quebec City teens have been remanded in custody and will appear in court on Monday for bail hearings.