Late last week, officials from Wall Township, New Jersey announced they'd discovered that a male fifth grader had a hit list of 40 classmates he'd fantasized about killing in a mass-casualty attack. Authorities say they don't think the 11-year-old could've carried out the elaborate plot, but still plan to file unspecified charges against the juvenile.
Last April, Central School staff found a note the elementary-schooler had written, vaguely detailing violent threats against classmates, and notified law enforcement. In a subsequent investigation that continued through the summer, police seized a computer from the child's home and found a more developed list of targets, a few of whom were celebrities.
Wall Township Police Lieutenant John Brockriede described the plot to Patch as “similar to a Columbine or Newtown" scheme, one the kid was unlikely to be able to execute. “We believe it was more of a fantasy-type thing he had,’’ the lieutenant also said. “Not something he was capable of actually carrying out.’’ A family member of the 11-year-old reportedly does own weapons, but the child never has had access to them.
Last Wednesday, Wall Township Public School interim superintendent Stephanie Bilenker alerted parents to the situation in a letter:
Please be advised and assured that law enforcement and school officials are taking every step necessary to ensure the safety of all of its students as well as addressing the needs of the juvenile suspect. The matter is currently under investigation and juvenile charges are anticipated in the very near future. Legally, the name of the student who made the threats cannot be divulged and given the ongoing nature of the matter, very little additional information can be discussed.
This fall, the boy was supposed to enter Wall Intermediate School as a sixth grader, but Brockriede told the Daily News that he's been placed in an “alternate program.” As for the impending juvenile charges, what crime has an 11-year-old with a violent fantasy allegedly committed?
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