FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Teenage boys charged with conspiring to shoot people at two Michigan schools never intended to follow through with any possible threats, defense lawyers said.
Police in Genesee County’s Argentine Township’s said the alleged plot was uncovered in the Linden school district, 20 miles south of Flint, and included specific targets at Linden High School and Linden Middle School.
The three teens were arrested Oct. 29 and never reached school property. They’re charged with conspiracy as well as making a false report or threat of terrorism. A hearing scheduled for Thursday in District Court in Flint was rescheduled for next week.
The oldest, 18-year-old Ryan Stevens, is a former Linden student.
“I think that it would appear to be teenagers who are lacking a fully developed brain, texting and Instagraming and using social media without thinking of the consequences,” his lawyer Ken Karasick told The Flint Journal. “I think once everything is sifted out, that there might be a resolution far less than what we’re looking at right now.”
The threats began when a female student at Linden High School posted something derogatory about Stevens online using Instagram, Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said. She took the post down a short while later, Leyton said, but began getting threats that she reported to police.
“I don’t know specifically, other than it was an issue as to his veracity,” Leyton told the newspaper.
The other suspects are 15 and live outside the school district. The Associated Press isn’t naming them because of their age. Lawyer Jodi L. Hemingway represents one of the 15-year-old boys and said she hopes that it will become clear that there was no plan to follow through with any threats.
“I can certainly appreciate erring on the side of caution with allegations of this nature,” Hemingway said. “I don’t disagree with Mr. Leyton saying that you can’t take a wait-and-see approach in this type of circumstance, but I think … it will be clear that this was ‘social media gone wild.’”
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