School shooting averted, parents find out year later

A school shooting prevented was in Brevard County in January of 2017. But parents are only finding out about it more than a year later.

Now, those parents are learning that school officials nearly missed all of the warning signs from two students that were allegedly planning a Parkland-style attack.

Brevard County school officials said the reason why Astronaut High School just now decided to release the robocall to parents about a foiled school shooting was because they learned that a news story was going to come out. 

January 17, 2017 was the day police said two 17-year-old boys planned a mass shooting at Astronaut High School. 

"This was about as scary as it gets for school security,” Matt Reed, Brevard County Schools spokesman said. 

Police said they found an arsenal Inside the bedroom of one of the students, including a .22 caliber rifle with two fully loaded magazines, a .380 pistol, Airsoft guns, over 15 homemade axes, knives and machetes, a bulletproof vest, two face masks and more. 
"What if he actually got the chance to use it?" student Joiah Roberson said. 
Titusville Police said they found enough evidence from the students' cell phones and computers to believe they would carry out an attack on campus. The students confirmed the messages were real. 
"We did stop it,” Titusville Police Chief John Lau said. “The system did work, even though at the last second." 
The police chief said the problem was that the school didn’t contact the cops when they first learned about the threat. 
Instead, handling it themselves and determining the kids were not serious about the attack. Not even the school resource officer was informed.
Police had no idea until days later, when a worried husband of a teacher went straight to the Titusville Police Department.  
"I just want to know why,” Roberson said. 
The two students were expelled, arrested, committed and charged as juveniles. 
But more than a year after the case was closed, the school had not even informed parents of the threats.

FOX 35 reporter Amanda McKenzie pressed the school for answers on why they kept parents and students in the dark.  The school admitted they only released the information because they learned the media got a hold of the story. 
"We put out a robocall this week because there was going to be a news story about it and we didn't want our parents to be blindsided about it,” Reed said. 

The father of one of the teens insists his son is a good kid who has never been in trouble before. He said he believes this is all a big misunderstanding.  He said the guns police found in his home belong to him and not his son. 

“There was never any history of mental health problems,” he said. “None. He is a good kid.”

After searching the teen’s phone, police said they found messages about school shootings, photos of Columbine victims with gunshot wounds and talk of how to acquire bulletproof vests.

“Did he make mistakes? Did he say some things he probably shouldn’t have? Absolutely,” the teen’s father said. 

Police said they found an arsenal inside the Titusville teen’s bedroom closet. His father said he has answer for that – all of the weapons belong to him. 

“It’s mine! It’s mine! It’s in a locked safe in my bedroom closet,” he said. “Along with the .380 pistol which is my wife’s.”

While the teen told investigators that threats were all a joke, other students took it seriously.   The teen’s father said he would never give his son access to his weapons.

“He had no way to access those guns without either men or my wife opening the safe,” he said. “He doesn’t have the combination to our gun safe. That’d be ludicrous to give a 17-year-old access to guns.”

The two teens were expelled, arrested, committed and charged as juveniles. They are now back at home and are not allowed to set foot on the Astronaut High School grounds or they will be charged with trespassing.