Two 16-year-old students were taken into custody Wednesday after someone overheard them the night before talking about a possible plot to "shoot up" Troy High School in Fullerton.
The school's resource officer learned of the possible plot about 9:30 a.m., according to Fullerton police Sgt. Jon Radus.
The officer was told that two students attending an athletic event on Tuesday evening were overheard by a parent "discussing their plans to 'shoot up' the school in a manner 'bigger than Columbine,'" Radus said.
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"They were also overheard discussing different types of firearms and the firearms' effectiveness for use during the shooting," Radus said. "The reporting party, alarmed by the topic of conversation, covertly took a photo of the two students in order to be able to identify them to the police at a later time."
Upon receiving the information, the resource officer contacted school administrators and officials with the Fullerton Joint Union High School District, Radus said.
"The two students were identified from the photos and they were contacted on school grounds by officers," he said.
The initial investigation indicated the students had indeed made statements similar to those reported and also had searched online as recently as Tuesday for information about school shootings -- including the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in Colorado that killed 12 students and a teacher -- and weapons, "in preparation for their plot," Radus said.
"Search warrants were written and served today at multiple locations in Anaheim," the sergeant said.
Both students were detained for making criminal threats and conspiracy to commit a felony and have been released to the custody of Orange County Juvenile Hall, he said.
"This is an excellent reminder that if 'you see something, say something,'" Radus said. "The reporting party in this incident may have saved countless lives, and untold heartache for an unknown number of families, simply by reporting to police what was overheard."
Students were grateful the parent spoke up.
"You never know if it's serious or not," Annika Lundgren said. "And if it is and you don't say something, I mean, that's just gonna be fatal for everybody."
"This is a safe place, but there's always that one day that it could happen," Naomi Hunt said.
The school remained open on Thursday.
Anyone with information that could assist in the ongoing investigation was urged to call 714-738-3156 to speak with the school resource officer.
Information can be submitted anonymously by calling Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS.
Beverly White contributed to this report.