DUNMORE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Lackawanna County District Attorney Mark Powell announced Friday, four Dunmore High School students have been charged for conspiring to carry out an attack on the school on the 25th anniversary of the Columbine massacre.
Zavier Lewis, 15, and Alyssa Kucharski, 15, are being charged as adults due to the serious nature of the threats, DA Powell said. Two other students are being charged as juveniles.
According to court paperwork, text messages were uncovered between the students discussing plans to “shoot up the school”, another student calling “dibs” on a specific victim.
The students saying 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 to 30 Molotov cocktails underneath of the front porch of her home.
Court papers say the student’s plans were to use bombs first and then shoot the guns. Investigators say they were going to name the event “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 five-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 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”.
Kucharski was interviewed by police and said “I don’t know why I did it. I just did it because that was on my mind at the time”, court papers say.
Investigators say Kucharski’s mother told police her daughter was “obsessed with” the Columbine massacre.
When Lewis was questioned by police investigators say he told them he had never heard of Columbine but when Kucharski told him about it, they discussed it. Lewis also said their plan began in September 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: