Police thwart terror plot connected to Virginia Beach high school prom
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Two people, including a 17-year-old male, were arrested for conspiracy to commit a terrorist act at the Virginia Beach Town Center over the weekend, Virginia Beach Police announced Monday.
Sometime around May 30, police received information that some individuals not associated with Bayside High School wanted to buy prom tickets to the event held at the Westin Hotel at the Town Center.
“It was kind of unusual for us that someone not associated with the high school to want to show up to the event,” said Virginia Beach Police Chief Cervera.
Police and the school resource officers developed a tight, internal security plan for the prom and police also focused on external security at the hotel and surrounding Town Center.
Though the officer didn’t release many specific details of the investigation, he said that law enforcement noticed a connection between this case and one of recent acts of violence.
Officers were assigned all around the area.
Based on the investigations, an individual who had sought access to the prom was identified. When officers went to approach the individual, he ran.
Police said he discarded a Taurus 9-millimeter handgun. The individual got away but police obtained enough information to obtain a search warrant at the Westin Hotel.
Police seized a 45-caliber semi-automatic rifle with a loaded clip, and additional ammunition, from the hotel room of the 17-year-old male.
The juvenile was charged with possession of a weapon as a juvenile, and conspiracy to commit a terrorist act.
Investigation led police to a second suspect, who they identified as Michael Coleman. Coleman was wanted on other firearm charges and was picked up by police in Norfolk.
“Virginia Beach Police Department takes all threats to our citizens, our tourist and our schools extremely seriously,” Chief Cervera said.
“They circumvented what could have been potentially a very dangerous situation at the hotel, at the prom or anywhere in the Town Center,” he added later during the press conference.
Police held a briefing on the incident at 4 p.m. Monday. You can watch the update below.