MARIOTT-SLATERVILLE, Utah - Weber County prosecutors charged two of the three teens suspected of planning a drive-by shooting at a school in Weber County.
The third is in the clear for now. A loophole in the law could be to blame. The two teens are facing misdemeanor charges for the alleged school shooting plot, but investigators say the penalty isn’t severe enough.
Officials from the Weber County Sheriff’s Office say two 15-year-old boys attending Venture Academy plotted to carry out a drive-by shooting at the charter school on Oct. 20. Authorities learned about the plan thanks to a tip from a student.
They arrested three teens. The main suspect, who investigators say tried to get ammunition for a gun is charged with one count for threats of violence – a class B misdemeanor.
Weber County prosecutors charged the other teen with possession of a dangerous weapon by a minor. School administrators found him with a knife and razor blades.
As for the third student detained by investigators, he didn’t break the law.
“The ammunition in the magazine alone don’t constitute a dangerous weapon so they weren’t able to charge him according to state statute,” said Lt. Lane Findlay, spokesman for the sheriff’s office.
Detectives have scoured property behind the school looking for the gun.
“Detectives went out there with metal detectors, searched around but we haven’t been able to locate it,” Findlay said.
Although Findlay feels the teens alleged actions constitute harsher penalties, he says law enforcement’s hands are tied. They’re hoping the legislature will fix the loophole in the law.
“It is a little bit frustrating when you look at just the impact that it has on a community and the potential that exists there that there’s not more that could be charged on it,” Findlay said.
Detectives are still sorting out a motive. They were unable to interview the main suspect at the time of the incident because his parents requested an attorney.
“That’s complicated the investigation as far as what was his actual intent -- what was the plan that he had and of course, where is this gun at,” Findlay said.
Investigators say if the gun is recovered the teens could face more charges.