Two students in Houston, Texas have been charged with planning a school shooting.
Court documents show that Damian Darias and Cornell Thomas, aged 17 and 18, respectively, have been charged with making a terrorist threat.
On Tuesday, a judge ordered them to remain under house arrest at all times with ankle monitors tracking their movements, KHOU 11 reported.
According to investigators, a classmate of the suspects claimed they said they were going to carry out the school shooting at James Madison High School last Friday. They reportedly said they were going to lock down the school around lunch using chains on the doors and then shoot at staff and students.
The judge ruled that the teens should not have any contact with anyone at school. They should be homeschooled and stay away from social media.
According to KHOU 11, prosecutor Nancy Ta of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office said, “We take this seriously. This is not a joke. This is not what you play with.”
“So if anyone hears any threats, see something suspicious to report it,” he added.
Mr. Thomas’s defense attorney, Brennen Dunn, said: “I think it should be dismissed.”
“I think at the end of the day, we all start with incorporating evidence and trying to make up our minds about what we don’t know,” Dunn added, the local TV station reported.
He said that the student who had heard the threat was wrong.
The judge added that the mental health of both teenagers will be evaluated.
The teens made the threats last Wednesday, according to KTRK. Both were arrested that same day, September 14, according to Houston Public Media.
Damian reportedly admitted that he was going to carry out the school shooting, a trial court judge said during Mr. Thomas’s probable cause hearing on Friday, local media reported.
Mr. Thomas is alleged to have said he was going to shoot people at the school and post it on YouTube.
Bail for Mr. Thomas was set at $70,000 and $50,000 for Damian.
The Houston Independent School District (HISD) told KTRK in a statement that it “takes these situations very seriously, as the safety of students and staff is our top priority. However, due to an ongoing investigation by HISD Police and the Family Educational Right to Privacy Act (FERPA), we are unable to provide additional details on this matter.”
On Friday, parents and other students said they were frustrated with how the situation had been handled and said they preferred to be told about the arrests the day they happened.
KTRK reported that Bailey Marshall, a senior at the school, said that “if I had known earlier, I wouldn’t be here. My family would not be here.”
“Everyone is capable of something,” he added.
The teens are being tried as adults after being released from jail on Tuesday. The third-degree felony can lead to a decade behind bars, according to Ms. Ta.
“The threat was made in a classroom to a classmate telling the student not to go to school on Friday (September 16), because there was going to be a school shooting that day,” Ms Ta said. , according to Houston Public Media. “That classmate did the right thing, immediately reporting to school officials. We were lucky to be at this stage and prevent that from happening.”
Damian, according to court documents, said he planned to “ask his uncle Rick for a gun and bring it to school on Friday and do it during lunch, since there are two police officers in the cafeteria.”
“Especially in the post-Uvalde stage, school shootings are one thing,” Ms. Ta added, referring to the elementary school shooting in Texas earlier this year when 21 people were killed, including 19 children. “It happened. Multiple people were killed. It’s serious, because we want to prevent that from happening, prevent children from being killed.”
the independent has contacted Damian Darias’ public defender for comment.