As America reeled from the mass shooting in Oregon, four male high school students found themselves under arrest in California last week for what Sheriff Jim Mele of Tuolumne County called a plot to "shoot and kill as many people as possible at [their] campus." The unnamed male juveniles confessed to the plan to attack Summerville Union High School in Tuolumne, said Mele on Saturday; though no weapons were recovered, the sheriff says the boys discussed how to get them and "were in the process" of trying to do so. The New York Times quotes Mele as saying the students were "pretty doggone close" to carrying out an attack. "(Close) enough to keep me up last night." The alleged plot came to light by way of classmates who overheard three of the boys talking on Wednesday and went to a teacher.
That teacher told school administrators, who "were in the classroom pulling those students out ... within two to three minutes," says the superintendent, per the Times. Their plan, which the Times describes as "highly detailed," also "included names of would-be victims, locations, methods in which the plan was to be carried out"; it was reportedly to occur during an upcoming school event. Among the intended victims were reportedly students and faculty. The four males were arrested Friday afternoon and charged with conspiracy to commit an assault with deadly weapons, reports the Modesto Bee. No motive has been given. The Los Angeles Times describes Tuolumne, a town of not quite 2,000 that sits about three hours east of San Francisco, as having experienced its "heyday ... during the Gold Rush era." (Read more school shooting stories.)