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Spotsylvania school officials and parents react after juveniles arrested for ‘bomb threat’ plot

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SPOTSLYVANIA, Va. –  One of two juveniles charged with conspiracy to commit murder at Riverbend High School, was in court Monday.

The  Commonwealth’s Attorney said the names of the suspects, a 15 and 17-year-old male, will not be released.

Earlier in October, as a rash of bomb threats abounded at Central Virginia schools, officials said the two Riverbend students were making a potentially deadly plan.

The teens planned to phone in a bomb threat and shoot students and staff as they exited the building, according to Cpt. Jeffery Pearce, with the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office.

“This was a serious threat,” said Spotsylvania County Sheriff Roger L. Harris.

The first juvenile was arrested on Oct. 12 after the Student Resource Officer received information from Sheriff's deputies which indicated that the student intended to commit acts of violence against others at the school.

He was charged with the felony crime of "Threatening Violence by Means of Internet" and ordered held in the Juvenile Detention center by the court.

During the investigation, additional information was uncovered which linked a second student to the attack. The second juvenile male was arrested on Friday, Oct. 23.

Search warrants were executed on the residences of both suspects.  The students had numerous guns available to them, according to Pearce, though he would not say how they were able to get their hands on the guns.

After gathering more evidence, detectives amended the charges facing the first student to "Conspiracy to Commit Murder," and the other student was given the same charge.

“We were able to catch this thing long before it became a different kind of story,” Pearce said.

While parents and students said they are grateful to police for their diligent investigation, some parents were upset with school officials on Monday for not immediately dispelling rumors that a third suspect had been arrested in school.

Parent, Donna Campbell said she received a frantic text from her daughter Monday afternoon, but was unable to reach school officials for 15 minutes.

"The rumor mill occurred today, but they never took the time to email the parents just to say, 'whatever you've heard today is not true.'" Campbell said.

Spotsylvania School administrators said a call and email went out to parents around 4.45 Monday afternoon. At Monday nights school board meeting, Superintendent Scott Baker reassured parents that additional officers, counselors, and school personnel were brought in to reassure parents and students.

"We have additional safety measures in place, particularly for the sense of feeling safe," Baker said. "We have additional presence. Not because there is a threat currently, but because it helps to have that additional presence."

The 15 year old was arraigned Monday, and the 17 year old will be arraigned on Wednesday.

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