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Teens accused of threatening SWFL school face judge

Writer: Melissa Montoya
Published: Updated:

The two teens accused of plotting a school shooting in Lee County appeared in front of a judge Sunday morning after they were taken into custody on Saturday.

Conner Pruett, 13, and Phillip Byrd, 14, will be held for 21 days in secure juvenile detention.

The two teens were detained on Thursday and held for a mental health evaluation after a school resource officer at Harns Marsh Middle School was notified a student had a gun in his backpack.

While the deputy did not find a gun, the deputy uncovered Pruitt and Byrd spoke to each other during lunch about a school shooting plot.

Witnesses were questioned and a map of the school was found that included the locations of surveillance cameras. Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said the two were plotting a school shooting that would mirror that of Columbine in Colorado and Parkland in Florida.

A judge on Sunday said he believed the two teens committed a juvenile act.

Byrd’s mother Carrie Tuller was present in court and defended her son.

“He’s just a little boy,” Tuller said. “He didn’t think this was really serious. He didn’t think they were serious.”

She said she will be changing Byrd’s schools.

Both Pruett and Byrd were ordered to have no contact with staff at the school and to stay away from the school.

Their next court date is Sept. 27 at 9 a.m.