DUNMORE, Pa. (WBRE/WYOU) – Four Pennsylvania high school students have been charged, two as adults and two as juveniles, for conspiring to carry out an attack on the school on the 25th anniversary of the Columbine massacre, Lackawanna County District Attorney Mark Powell announced Friday.
Dunmore High School students Zavier Lewis, 15, and Alyssa Kucharski, 15, are being charged as adults due to the serious nature of the threats, DA Powell said.
According to court paperwork, text messages were uncovered between the students discussing plans to “shoot up the school”, with another student calling “dibs” on a specific victim.
The students wrote that they “hated” Dunmore High School and wanted “everything to go down like that,” referring to the 1999 Columbine High School mass shooting, investigators say.
It was also noted by investigators the intended date chosen by Lewis and Kucharski was April 20, 2024, the 25th anniversary of the shootings.
Within the text messages in the court affidavit, the students discussed that Kucharski made Molotov cocktails as well as homemade explosives in the form of gun powder and CO2 cartridges. Investigators say another student told them Kucharski had 20-30 Molotov cocktails underneath the front porch of her home.
Court papers say the student’s plans were to use bombs first and then shoot the guns. They had even created a title for the planned attack, investigators say: “Natural Born Killers.”
Kucharski told a student she was also going to purchase gas masks, bulletproof vests, and trench coats, police reports say.
A search warrant was executed at Kucharski’s home where police say they recovered explosive devices, BB pellets, CO2 cartridges, notebooks explaining how to make a bomb, a 5-subject notebook with a section devoted to the Columbine shootings, and another notebook referencing Rodney King.
An entry in Kucharski’s notebook dedicated to Columbine read, “I think I’m gonna go with Klebold setup, (referring to Dylan Klebold, one of the Columbine shooters). A Tech-9 and a sawed-off shotgun, but instead of a double barrel, I want one like Eric shot” (referring to Eric Harris, the other Columbine shooter), court papers detail.
Investigators say another entry in Kucharski’s notebook read “4-20-24 April 20, 2024, you’ll all be dead soon anyways” and “the only thing you’d get from me would be a 9 sawn-off shotty to the face, blow your damn head off.”
A digital camera was also recovered from the home, in which investigators said they found a video of Kucharski and Lewis preparing to make explosive devices. Kucharski says “this is for our pipe bombs and crickets,” and Lewis says “hey [expletive] this is going to boom up in your faces”.
After police took Kucharski into custody, court papers say he told investigators that he didn’t know why he did it, adding, “I just did it because that was on my mind at the time.”
Investigators say Kucharski’s mother told police her daughter was “obsessed with” the Columbine massacre.
Lewis told police he had never heard of Columbine until Kucharski told him about it, and the two started planning in September of 2020, according to the police affidavit.
Lewis told police Kucharski had found out their plan was under investigation so they stopped actively preparing. Lewis said he “felt better about it because he didn’t think he was going to be able to kill someone,” according to investigators.
“While the investigation is ongoing, I want to assure the parents, students, and staff at Dunmore High School that we do not believe there is any active threat at this time,” Powell said. “We are relieved that this plot was uncovered before anyone was hurt and urge anyone who has information about potential threats of school violence to contact police immediately.”
Kucharski is being charged with possessing weapons of mass destruction, terroristic threats, aggravated assault, and criminal conspiracy.
Lewis is being charged with possessing weapons of mass destruction, possessing explosive materials, criminal conspiracy, terroristic threats, criminal conspiracy, and aggravated assault.
“We are charging two students as adults because of the serious nature of the charges and to reassure the
public that all threats to the safety of our children will be aggressively prosecuted. Two additional students have been charged as juveniles,” Powell said.
Friday, the Dunmore School District posted a statement on its website regarding the arrests: