This is a story that started almost a year ago. The previous school year was so deadly that this story fell to the wayside. Unfortunately, there’s now another reason to discuss it. But let’s start at the beginning.
Back in September of last year, 14-year-old Phillip Byrd and 13-year-old Connor Pruett were arrested for allegedly plotting a school shooting. The school they were targeting was Harns Marsh Middle School in Lehigh Acres, Florida.
Byrd was said to be the mastermind of the plot, if that word can be used here. The pair was said to be trying to recruit other students. One student turned them in, claiming that one of them had a gun in his backpack. Thankfully, neither of them did. However, plans for a future shooting were found, including a map of the school with marks for where security cameras were.
After the pair were arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit a mass shooting, Pruett reportedly told police that the plan was to detonate pipe bombs over the school’s gas lines. Once the explosions started, Byrd was going to start shooting. That sounds vaguely familiar.
Yes, the pair of teens were columbiners, people who have an unhealthy fascination with the infamous school shooting and its cowardly participants.
Pruett would allegedly use his school-issued laptop to search the Columbine fansites, while Byrd allegedly had 950 images on his phone that contained pictures of the Parkland shooter, guns, swastikas, confederate flags, and a video of a homemade napalm test. But get this, they were specifically going to target bullies in their attack. When the following picture is on someone’s Instagram feed, you have to wonder about that supposed bullying.
You can draw your own conclusions as to what Byrd’s home life must be like. Actually, you don’t have to. The family is known in the community to allegedly be prone to violence.
After Byrd was arrested, a Risk Protection Order (RPO) was placed on Byrd. Since he is a minor, the protection order was filed against his mother. An RPO means that person cannot be in possession of a gun. That’s convenient for Byrd’s mother, since she is already a convicted felon who is barred from owning a gun.
However, more recently, another RPO was placed on the household. Byrd’s older brother, 18-year-old Andrew Byrd, allegedly made a ghost gun that killed 17-year-old Destiny Padilla, who accidentally shot herself with the unregistered weapon.
During the investigation of Destiny’s death, investigators found a picture on Phillip’s phone of him allegedly holding the ghost gun, which violates the RPO. Byrd had been in juvenile custody. I haven’t seen word on whether he will return to custody yet.
Hopefully, we’ll see less of the kits used to make ghost guns, as a new law recently went into effect regulating them. The new legislation requires the frames and receivers of ghost gun kits to have serial numbers.
Hate begins at home, and it seems like Byrd’s hate was either encouraged or at least tolerated in the home. For almost a decade now, school and mass shooters have been politically aligned with the far right. The same far right that says mass shootings are a mental health issue, but also stigmatize mental healthcare while trying to make guns less regulated.
As long as guns are in the hands of adults, they’ll continue to end up in the hands of children.
- Teen accused of plotting school shooting arrested for violating risk protection order
- LCSO seeks RPO against teen who built ghost gun used in death of 17-year-old girl
- Newly obtained court documents lay out Harns Marsh shooting plot
- Students accused of plotting massacre at Harns Marsh Middle tried to recruit others
- Federal ‘ghost gun’ regulations go into effect after judges reject challenges