One of two teenagers accused of plotting a ‘Columbine-style’ massacre at a South Australian school has been described as a ‘good kid’ before ‘something changed in him’.
The pair, aged 16 and 18, have been charged over an alleged plan to carry out an attack using guns, knives and explosives at a school in Renmark, west of Adelaide.
The former best friend of one of the accused said he first noticed a change in the teenager when he began using his garage to make unusual objects.
‘He made a knuckle-buster (sic) and Wolverine-type claws out the end of it,’ the friend told told Nine News.
One of two teenagers accused of plotting a massacre at a South Australian school has been described as a ‘good kid’ before ‘something changed in him’
‘He was a good kid. No doubt about it. But I think something just changed in him… We used to be best mates [so] to see this happen just really surprised me.’
The teenagers had allegedly plotted to ‘kill as many people as possible’ in the attack, which they are accused of planning to carry out before the end of this school term.
Police said on Wednesday they believed there would have been significant casualties if the attack had gone ahead, but the alleged plot was thwarted when fellow students alerted police.
‘We’re extremely grateful to those students who came to us with this information,’ Detective Superintendent Des Bray said.
The teenagers have been charged with planning a ‘Columbine-style’ (pictured) shooting at a school in South Australia
He said this was as close to a U.S-style school shooting as Australia had ever come.
‘There is no doubt in my mind that we’ve prevented a major catastrophe,’ Mr Bray said.
‘Police will allege that they intended to cause harm to a large number of people, however this plan was thwarted.
‘There is no evidence to show that any other persons were linked with this matter, not did the two individuals have possession of firearms.’
The principal of the school in the Riverland region has been praised by the education minister for keeping parents informed over the alleged plot.
‘I have to pay tribute to the principal who has in this case shown extraordinary leadership and a very steady hand,’ Susan Close told ABC radio on Thursday.
Des Bray (pictured), the head of major crime in South Australia, said this was as close to a U.S-style school shooting as Australia had ever come
‘In any community, but particularly in regional South Australia people know each other well and it really hits close to home.’
The 16-year-old will face court on December 5, charged with soliciting to kill. Police will oppose bail.
The 18-year-old will appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court in January charged with aggravated counts of threatening to kill.
The pair had allegedly been planning the attack on the school in the small town close to the Victorian border since June.
15 people died when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold (pictured) opened fire on Columbine High School on April 20, 1999
The principal of the school in the Riverland region has been praised by the education minister for keeping parents informed over the alleged plot
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