Police in Trinidad, Colorado report that they have prevented yet another school shooting from taking place in their state. According to Trinidad Police Chief, Charles Glorioso, the police department’s school resource officer received a tip about an alleged shooting plot at Trinidad High School.
Two male students at the high school, ages 15 and 16, were arrested on Friday on suspicion of having made “a credible threat against an educational facility or school and inciting destruction of life or property.” A local prosecutor will make the ultimate decision as to what, if any, criminal charges the two students will face. Police are recommending that the alleged plotters be charged with a felony count of inciting destruction of life or property, and a misdemeanor account of interference with school. The prosecutor has yet to publicly comment on the case other than to indicate his support for the police action. It remains unknown whether the students have acquired legal representation at this time.
As part of their effort to prevent yet another Colorado school shooting, police acted swiftly to place extra security in three schools in the tiny southern Colorado town on Thursday. These precautionary measures were taken despite the fact that the students’ alleged plan for attack was not set to occur until after students returned to classes from their winter break in January. Chief Glorioso said that plans for the attack had been ongoing for about a month and a half. He further reported that a search of the students’ homes did not turn up any weapons but that the students had allegedly been discussing how they might acquire them. Police have released few other details regarding specific aspects of the alleged shooting plot.
The identities of the two students arrested in the case remain unknown at this time. Chief Glorioso did comment that at least one of the student, the 15-year-old, had been bullied at school and that the “jocks” who had reportedly been bullying the student may have been potential targets. Allegedly the 15-year-old had also discussed the fact that he idolized the two attackers who carried out the Columbine High School shootings and the shooter who carried out the attack at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater.
Colorado is clearly no stranger to school shootings, and they may have influenced police in their decision to act quickly on the information that they received. The arrests in this case came just one week after the shooting at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado just outside Denver. The shooter in that case was an 18-year-old student who entered the school, fired four shots and then took his own life all in a matter of 80 seconds. The fellow student whom he shot, Claire Davis, has since died from her injuries. Reports emerging from that case indicate that the shooter may also have been bullied.
The infamous Columbine High School shooting, the work of two gunman that one of the students arrested in this case allegedly admired, also took place in Colorado, leaving 13 dead and nearly 30 injured before the shooters took their own lives.
As details of this story are revealed, residents of Trinidad are shocked and surprised that such a thing could happen in their normally sleepy small town. Both Chief Glorioso and local citizens are grateful to the school resource officer who took the tip seriously and may have prevented yet another school shooting from taking place in the state of Colorado.
By Michele Wessel