Students accused of plotting Harns Marsh Middle School shooting in court

Reporter: Taylor Wirtz Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:

The two teens accused of plotting an attack on their middle school in Lehigh Acres will be in court Monday morning.

Connor Pruett and Phillip Byrd, who have spent the last 21 days in a juvenile detention facility, will be in court at 9 a.m. Monday. They are charged with conspiracy to commit a mass shooting at Harns Marsh Middle School. Lee County deputies say the boys tried to buy guns on the black market and tried learning how to build a pipe bomb, hoping to carry out an attack like the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School. We will soon find out if these teens will be charged as adults.

“Florida happens to be one of the leading states in the country for direct filing, which means treating juveniles as an adult,” said Michael Raheb, criminal defense attorney of the Law Offices of Michael Raheb.

Quick action from students and teachers helped stop the attack before it ever happened. If they are allowed to return to school, it is not clear if they will return to Harns Marsh or somewhere else. But many parents say they do not want the boys in the same school as their kids, one mother going as far as to start a petition against Pruett and Byrd being allowed back.

“I’m protecting my kids, because it was mentioned that the parents said they’re going to change the child’s school,” said Lee County mother Tiffany Major. “How do we know, as parents, that that school won’t be our school, where our children are at?”

Phillip Byrd, 14, in court. Credit: WINK News

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