FBI police car (illustration)
FBI police car (illustration)iStock

Florida authorities on Thursday arrested two male students aged 13 and 14 upon arrival at their charter school, after receiving reports they were planning to carry out a mass shooting.

According to a report by the Sumter County Sheriff's Office, the plan was reported by several students who heard that the shooters were planning "to shoot up the school on Friday." The students said the shooters' friends had been told to wear white shirts and say the word "Eugene" to avoid being shot. Other students were told not to come to school on Friday.

The shooting was planned for the "morning hours at the gym" and the signal to begin shooting was a dropped pencil.

Though the suspects initially admitted discussing the idea of carrying out a shooting, a search of the suspects, their bags, and their lockers did not find weapons. However, four firearms, including an AR-15 assault rifle and a Ruger LCP, were found in the suspects' homes.

"At the time, he [13-year-old] acknowledged conversations involving the plot and referenced the mass shootings at Columbine High School," the sheriff's office said. "The student informed officials that the two students had planned an attack which included what they would use as a signal to open fire. No weapons were found on either of the students or in their bags or lockers.

"The Sumter County Sheriff's Office is grateful for those students brave enough to speak out about the plot. Their heroic actions may have prevented a deadly tragedy and loss of precious lives."

Both students later admitted to planning to meet at the gym and begin shooting. They are now being charged with conspiracy to commit murder and have been placed into the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice.

The 13-year-old suspect reported depression, and said he "just wants to die."

The school's head of education refused to comment.