The Law Office of Jennifer Marshall, Esq

“Bridgewater-Raritan High School Shooting Plot Stirs Memories of Columbine”

A 16-year-old Bridgewater-Raritan High School junior and a 17-year-old Immaculata High School senior were arrested on charges related to an alleged plot, which authorities said the pair were equipped to carry out on Monday (Dec. 14).

Somerset County Prosecutor Wayne Forrest and Bridgewater Police Chief Richard Borden said the plot was similar to one carried out by a pair of students at a suburban Colorado high school in 1999 that left 15 people dead, including the two gunmen.

The 16-year-old was arrested Friday after a search of his residence, where police seized various shotgun shells, bullets, black powder and explosive devices, as well as materials that could act as components of explosive devices, illustrations on assembling explosive devices, tools and lists of materials, according to Forrest and Borden. The teen faces charges of attempted murder, possession of explosives, possession of a destructive device and attempted widespread damage or injury.

The 17-year-old is charged with third-degree possession of destructive devices.  Investigators who searched the 17-year-old’s Bridgewater residence, according to Forrest, “discovered a number of firearms (rifles and shotguns) and shotgun shells that matched the shotgun shells previously seized from the 16-year-old juvenile’s home.”

The 17-year-old is a competitive rifle shooter, and the firearms found in his home were registered to his father, according to Forrest and Borden.

Forrest said investigators have determined that the 17-year-old provided the shotgun shells to the 16-year-old in order to construct an improvised explosive device and that the 17-year-old drove the younger teen to The Home Depot in Bridgewater, “where they purchased PVC piping, wiring, light sockets and light bulbs for the purpose of making IEDs.”

Forrest said he could not predict whether further arrests would be made in the case, which began unfolding Thursday, sometime after an unidentified Bridgewater-Raritan student tipped off school authorities. A guidance counselor then alerted the school’s Resource Officer, who also is a member of the local police department. Forrest declined to specify how the tipster came to be aware of the alleged plot. In addition to talking with students, the prosecutor’s office also continues to scour files within the 16-year-old’s computer, which was seized by authorities from that youngster’s home.

Though this alleged plot to shoot up the school was caught before innocent lives were lost, the teens in this case are facing serious charges with jail time.  The best thing to do would be to obtain counsel for each teen and investigate where the alleged tip came from and what evidence the police have.

This story is already in the media and it could turn into a media storm very quickly.  The public is scared of school shootings and the teens need competent legal counsel to handle how it will affect a possible jury pool.

If anything this is a reminder to parents and teachers everywhere that we may never really know what kids are up to or thinking.

Contact our office to hear more on this topic.