Two Georgia Students Arrested After Plotting To Kill Black And Disabled Students At Their High School
Alfred Dupree expressed admiration for the 1999 Columbine school shooting and wanted this attack's death toll to surpass that of the 2017 shooting in Las Vegas.
Two Georgia teenagers admitted in court on Friday that they were planning a mass shooting with the specific intention of killing Black and disabled students at the school
Alfred Dupree and Victoria McCurley pleaded guilty in a Cherokee County court on Friday to six counts of conspiracy to commit murder, one count of conspiracy to commit arson and one count of unlawful possession of a destructive device.
The pair were arrested in October 2017 after the Cherokee County School Police Department told local police about threats against Etowah High School, which they had attended. Police later found a journal detailing what 19-year-old Dupree and 18-year-old McCurley were planning.
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Cherokee Co. Sheriff's Office just sent these photos of attempted murder suspects Alfred Dupree and Victoria McCurley. pic.twitter.com/uQoBJwSfpI— Richard Elliot (@RElliotWSB) October 25, 2017
The journal was filled with swastikas, racial slurs and references to disabled Black children they intended to kill during the shooting. They had a lengthy kill list that included all of the school's Black students and one teacher.
“We’d like to get our numbers up higher than Las Vegas,” the journal said, and McCurley admitted in court that they did in fact write the reference to the 2017 shooting in Las Vegas where 58 people were killed and 422 people were injured.
“During the writing (of their plan), it wasn’t serious, but then it escalated to being serious,” McCurley said in testimony on Friday before she and Dupree pled guilty.
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The journal had meticulously detailed plans for the shooting, including a layout of the Etowah High School campus and a list of actions they wanted to take. They hoped to throw flammable bombs and smoke pellets to force students into a particular area, making it easier for the pair to shoot more people.
Court documents obtained by The Cherokee Tribune & Ledger-News showed that Dupree and McCurley had "a container of flammable and combustible material with the intent that it would be used to kill, injure and intimidate students and staff at Etowah High School and to destroy Etowah High School.”
They wanted to use a “flammable chemical weapon” and “throw explosives and smoke bombs at people inside” before the shooting.
Both Dupree and McCurley attended classes at the high school and were indicted in December 2017. Dupree told the court on Friday that he was inspired as a child by the school shooting at Columbine in 1999 and remembers seeking out photos of the shooters.
At the time, Etowah Principal Robert Horn sent a letter home to parents where he highlighted their efforts to stop the shooting before it happened.
"The safety and security of all students and staff members is of utmost importance and CCSD will continue to partner with the Cherokee Sheriff's Office throughout the conclusion of the investigation to insure that this is the case," Horn said.
"I will continue to keep you in the loop in this regard. Any threat on school safety/security will not be tolerated and as such these students will also face severe disciplinary action, as well as any applicable criminal charges."
After the two were arrested in October, police searched their home and found incendiary devices as well as unidentified powders. They initially pleaded not guilty last June but admitted to all of the charges against them in court last week.
The Cherokee County School District told local news outlets in 2017 that they took the threats seriously and immediately began working with police when they were tipped off.
"We will not tolerate violence -- or threats of violence -- at any our schools," the district told Patch.
"This stand will be reflected in the severe administrative disciplinary actions we will take against these students. Our community is strongest when we work together to keep all of us – especially our children – safe. We deeply appreciate the community member who reported information to the Woodstock Police Department tip line that ultimately led to these arrests by the Cherokee Sheriff's Office."
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