Prosecutor: Fifth-grade boys plotted to kill 'annoying' girl

Court documents say the alleged plot was foiled after another boy tipped off school staff.

Authorities in Washington state say they foiled a plot by two fifth-grade boys to kill a "rude" girl at recess and as many as six other classmates.

The boys sneaked a knife and a stolen gun into Fort Colville Elementary School in Colville, Wash., about 70 miles northwest of Spokane, on Feb. 7, according to court documents. They were intent on carrying out their plan that day but were intercepted by school staff and police after another boy tipped off a school employee, said Tim Rasmussen, the Stevens County prosecuting attorney.

"These boys were not just bringing a gun to school and waving it around. This was a plan. They were going to carry out the plan that day, either at morning recess or lunch," Rasmussen told MSN News on Friday.

"A fourth-grader saw something, told something and a death was averted."

School officials found a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun, a full ammunition clip and a 3 ¼-inch knife in one of the boys’ backpacks, according to court documents.

The boys, ages 10 and 11, were arrested before classes started. They face charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, possession of firearm and tampering with a witness. They are being held in a juvenile detention facility on a $100,000 bond pending a hearing before a Superior Court judge on Wednesday to determine whether they can be tried as juveniles.

In Washington state, children between the ages of 8 and 12 are presumed to not have the capacity to commit a crime. But prosecutors plan to argue that the boys knew what they were allegedly doing was wrong and should be held accountable, Rasmussen said.

If the judge denies the prosecutor's request to have the case heard in juvenile court, then "there's nothing that can criminally be done holding them accountable," Rasmussen said.

Colville police said the boys admitted plotting to kill the girl, who they described as "annoying." According to court documents, one boy told police: "I was going to kill her with the knife and (the other boy) was supposed to use the gun to keep anyone from trying to stop me or mess up our plan."

The 11-year-old reportedly told an officer that he was friends with the girl for several months "but that he hated her now."

"He also indicated that (the girl) had recently become rude and would pick on him," the officer wrote.

The 11-year-old also showed a school staff member a list of six more classmates the boys planned to kill by luring them away from school one at a time, according to prosecutors.

The two boys had earlier told another student about the plot and offered him $80 to keep it secret, the court documents said.

After they were taken into custody, a detective overheard one of the boys telling the other, "If I find out who told them about our weapons I’m going to kill them," court documents allege.

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The arrests promoted the school district to host a public meeting Wednesday evening at the Colville High School auditorium. Parents and community members spoke out about school safety concerns and ways to better protect children, and several asked if it would be possible to arm teachers, The Spokesman-Review reported.

School safety has been a topic of heated discussion since the Dec. 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children and six school staff dead.

Rasmussen said he's grateful to have avoided another Newtown-like tragedy.

"I thank God we don’t have a bunch of dead children or even one dead child," he told MSN News.

"This was foiled."

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