3 students arrested in thwarted school shooting plot, police say; replica AR-15 is seized

A staff member at Desert Hot Springs High School spotted a social media post threatening violence.
(Los Angeles Times)

Three students were arrested this week in connection with a thwarted shooting plot at a high school in Desert Hot Springs, authorities said.

The arrests occurred after a Palm Springs Unified School District staff member spotted a social media post threatening violence. School officials alerted police Sunday evening, and the teens were arrested the same night. The names of the students — two boys and a girl — are being withheld because they are minors, officials said.

Desert Hot Springs police seized two guns, including a Glock semiautomatic handgun and a .357 magnum revolver. Police also confiscated a replica AR-15 assault rifle.


“There’s no real way to tell this is a fake weapon without actually having it in your hands,” Det. Larry Gaines said during a news conference Monday. “This could have ended in a deadly confrontation.”

In a message to parents, officials said security at the school would be heightened, though there was no ongoing safety threat.

“This incident serves as a reminder to our students and staff members about the importance of reporting anything they see or hear that looks, sounds or feels suspicious,” Palm Springs Unified School District Supt. Sandra Lyon said. “As a result of the sharing of information in an efficient and expedient manner, any potential threat was averted, and student and staff safety was not compromised.”

The students who were arrested are in juvenile custody and are being held on charges of making terrorist threats.