Parents Thankful That School Shooting Threat Thwarted

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    NEWSLETTERS

    People who knew one of the teens accused of planning a mass shooting at South Pasadena High School offered some insight into what may have provoked him. Hetty Chang reports from South Pasadena for the NBC4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. (Published Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014)

    As details emerged Tuesday about how police stopped two students from South Pasadena High School from potentially carrying out a mass shooting, those who know one of the suspects said they do not believe the teen would be capable of carrying out the alleged plot.

    "He's not that kind of boy that's capable of harm," said Martha Garcia, a long-time neighbor. "He wasn't even capable of defending himself!"

    The teen, who neighbors describe as a tall, awkwardly shy young man, was often bullied according to neighbors. They believe the incoming high school senior, who was often seen walking his dog, may have been "pushed too far."

    "You would see him running from school and you would see the kids running after him," said Garcia. "(They'd) stop right here and they would slap him the head."

    Two Teens Arrested in Thwarted School Massacre Plot

    [LA] Two Teens Arrested in Thwarted School Massacre Plot
    Police say a social media blitz by investigators helped foil a detailed school shooting plot hatched by two incoming seniors at South Pasadena High School. John Cádiz Klemack has the latest details on the investigation for the NBC4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. (Published Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014)

    Another neighbor, whose son was also bullied said he was grateful a school employee alerted police of the threat, but believes the school should have recognized warning signs earlier.

    "I'm glad that nobody got hurt and that this didn't happen like it has in other communities,"said Isidor Torres. "It's really sad that no one intervened earlier. Maybe now at least he can get some help."

    Some residents said tragedy may have been diverted this time, but that this incident should serve as a wake up call to this community and others.

    "I'm still stunned to tell you the truth," said Mary Kay Rosenfeld, a Pasadena resident.

    2 Students Arrested in Alleged South Pasadena School Shooting Plot

    [LA] 2 Students Arrested in Alleged South Pasadena School Shooting Plot
    Two students were arrested for allegedly plotting a mass shooting of students and staff at South Pasadena High School, police said. Robert Kovacik reports from South Pasadena for the NBC4 News at 11 on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014. (Published Monday, Aug 18, 2014)

    Student Julian Lopez, a senior, was at South Pasadena City Hall Tuesday morning, learning new information about what police say could have become a massacre at his school.

    "They say they're gonna be incoming seniors and I'm an incoming senior so there's a chance in me knowing them," he said.

    South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller said the students involved had a "very real threat" and "a plan in mind they were going to execute."

    Two students, ages 16 and 17, were arrested on charges of conspiracy and criminal threats after police say they found evidence of a plan to kill three teachers and as many students as possible.

    Students Return to South Pasadena High After Shooting Threat

    [LA] Students Return to South Pasadena High After Shooting Threat
    Counselors and psychologists are expected to be on-hand as students return to South Pasadena High School after two teens were arrested for allegedly plotting a shooting at the campus. Ted Chen reports live for Today in LA August 19, 2014. (Published Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014)

    "Yeah, you see it all over the news and see it happen at Sandy Hook, but you never think it'll happen at your school," said Jackson Totleben, an incoming freshman.

    Students and parents were thankful the threat has been stopped.

    "I trust our police force, I trust our administrators at the school, I know them," said parent Karyn Weinstock.

    But questions remain about the motive. Police kept what they know about that out of the conversations on Tuesday.

    "Very Viable" School Shooting Plot: Police

    [LA] Teens Had "Very Viable" School Shooting Plot: Police
    South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller speaks at a press conference on Tuesday, August 19, 2014, about the investigation and arrest of two high school students allegedly plotting a shooting on campus. (Published Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014)

    "It's some pretty frightening information the computer forensics revealed and the interview with them," Miller said.

    Bullying has been a common guess, but parents and students say it could be something every student feels.

    School Shooting Plot Details Emerge in South Pasadena

    [LA] School Shooting Plot Details Emerge in South Pasadena
    Officials released details of an alleged plot for a school shooting in South Pasadena, saying the two accused boys "wanted to kill as many people as possible." Ted Chen reports live for the NBC News at Noon August 19, 2014. (Published Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014)

    "the stress and everything put on kids especially here in South Pasadena to perform up to the standards of our school system," said parent John Stifel.

    The school district and the high school have consistently ranked high in statewide scholastic achievement.

    Lopez says he's felt the pressure.

    "Yes, I do, 'cause I want to exceed as well as my other peers," he said. "When we apply for college, we're looked upon as South Pasadena and we're really good, so just that pressure of always excelling is the pressure."

    But whether pressure, or bullying, police say the threat of what could have happened here: was real and it could have been devastating.

    "Any motive would not rise to the level of the response that they had," Miller said.

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