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Published: 1/12/2005

<font face='verdana' size='1' color =#CC0000><b> * NEW * </b></font> Attack at Lenawee County high school foiled, police say

ASSOCIATED PRESS

WAYLAND, Mich. A possible attack at a high school in Lenawee County was foiled by a teenager s threatening computer messages to his girlfriend in Wayland, police said.

The 17-year-old boy, a former student at Tecumseh High School who now attends Adrian High School, apparently was angry with Tecumseh students who considered him odd because of his gothic dress and style.

He told his girlfriend, a 16-year-old Wayland Union High School student, that he was planning to do something big involving weapons that will get in the news, Wayland Police Chief Dan Miller said.

The messages were quite graphic and specific about the weapons he d use and how he d do it, Miller told the Grand Rapids Press for a story published today. It was something we knew we had to get to the police over there before anything happened.

The police over there said the weapons were his father s, but he had access to them.

WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids reported that the weapons discussed included long-barrel guns and semiautomatic weapons.

Police in Tecumseh, which is 40 miles northwest of Toledo, interviewed the 17-year-old but he was not taken into custody, Miller said.

A Wayland Public Schools security officer notified authorities Monday about the potential plot when a third student reported overhearing a conversation. Neither the instant messages sent last weekend from the teen couple s home computers nor the overheard conversation pointed to a specific date for an attack.

Tecumseh Police Chief Mack Haun issued a news release today saying the boy in question and his parents were very cooperative and it was determined that there was no immediate threat to the high school or any students or faculty at the high school.

The youth called it a joke and said he didn t plan to carry out an attack, Miller said.

Joke or not, it s not something to talk about in this day and age, Miller said.

He said the girlfriend and her parents also cooperated as police searched her home computer. The teens met last summer through a mutual friend, he said.

Police were able to find the girl s outgoing messages. Miller said they corresponded with messages Tecumseh authorities found on the computer owned by the boy, who could face charges under federal anti-terrorism laws.

The case marked the second time in four months that threats of school attacks communicated to people over the Internet were stopped in Michigan.

In September, a 16-year-old Idaho girl told authorities that she received threats from a 17-year-old boy at Chippewa Valley High School in Macomb County. The teen was accused of planning to hurt fellow students and a police officer at the school.

A police raid at the home of Andrew Osantowski found weapons, ammunition, bomb-making materials and books about white supremacy.

During a preliminary examination held today, Osantowski was ordered to stand trial on a charge of threatening terrorism and several counts related to a gun shop burglary and the thefts of golf carts and power tools.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.



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