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Middle school student helps thwart possible school shooting in Vermont

Posted: 3:52 AM, Dec 20, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-20 07:08:54-05

For the second time in a week, a potential school shooting was thwarted by a tipster who gave authorities a heads up -- this time in the town of Middlebury, Vermont.

Authorities launched an investigation last week after a student told the principal at Middlebury Union Middle that she or he overheard two teens planning to attack another student, police said.

Though interviews with multiple students, investigators learned that a 14-year-old planned to go to the school Tuesday at noon "and shoot a specific student, one in which he had problems with, and anyone else."

The second student involved allegedly said he could obtain a weapon from a relative.

"They provided us this information in pretty graphic detail," Middlebury police Chief Tom Hanley told CNN affiliate WPTZ. "As to what the plans were, very specific: date and time, target, where this was going to happen... very specific. As opposed to the normal kind of idle chatter where there's nothing specific at all."

Working with social workers, counselors and the State's Attorney Office, police had one student taken to Porter Medical Center for psychiatric counseling and treatment.

The firearms from the other student's relatives were seized pending a court hearing, though police say the relative had no knowledge of the students' plans. All of the relatives' firearms were secured in safes, police said.

The middle school "will deal with both students per their internal policies," as the investigation continues, police said.

School Superintendent Peter Burrows said he was thankful for the student who decided to speak up.

"Students talking to each other and reaching out to us and then allowing us to work with police and take care of it is huge," Burrows told CNN affiliate WCAX.

Middlebury, a town of around 8,500 people, is located about 35 miles south of Burlington.

Last week, police in Richmond, Indiana, killed a teen they said was bent on committing violence at a middle school after receiving notice of the teen's plan. Lauding the tipster, Indiana State Police Sgt. John Bowling said, "Someone knew something, and they said something."