Three Florida middle schoolers are suspected in attempting a terror plot, authorities say. The youngsters, ages 12 and 13, researched how to make bombs on the Internet.
Police in Lakeland arrested the students Thursday (May 2), who plotted to “create chaos” in the cafeteria at Sleepy Hill Middle School. They face charges of conspiracy to commit aggravated battery and conspiracy to construct a destructive device.
Of the three accused, the ringleader is said to be a 13-year-old girl.
Zulamita Montalvo had been doing extensive research on mass-murderers who committed suicide, like Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old Connecticut man who killed over 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary. A school counselor found information in the girl’s notebook that was “disturbing,” and contacted police.
Montalvo also showed off her fascination with murderers on social media, creating the Yahoo! screen name “JamesHolmesFan,” in honor of the gunman who opened fire on victims inside a Colorado movie theater, last summer.
Two other suspects, Gisselle Mendoza, 12, and Nicholas Christakos, 13, were called “followers” of the teen girl, but not “key players,” in steering the plot.
“The Lakeland Police Department and Polk County Public Schools take it very serious when potential threats to the safety of schools, and the children that attend them, come to our attention,” said police spokesperson, Capt. John Thomason. “The partnership we have with school officials will ensure that we do everything possible to keep our children and community safe from harm.”
No other students are believed to have taken part in the plan, which was foiled before the children got around to constructing the explosive.
Photo: USA Today