Attleboro police arrested two men Monday, charging them with threatening on Facebook to carry out a Columbine-style attack on the city’s high school.
Natick Sands, 18, and Ryan Ringuette, 20, both of Attleboro, were arrested after a student at Attleboro High School contacted a school counselor and reported a public conversation between the suspects on Facebook in which they discussed carrying out a shooting spree at the school, Attleboro police said.
The school counselor immediately notified the school’s administration and called police, according to a police statement.
Sands and Ringuette were charged with threatened use of a dangerous weapon at a school and are scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Attleboro District Court. The charges carry potential sentences of three to 20 years in state prison or six months to 2 1/2 years in a house of correction, with fines up to $50,000, the statement said.
They are being held on $10,000 cash bail.
Police said the Facebook conversation included a specific threat against an Attleboro police officer assigned to the school as a resource officer.
A Facebook page in Ringuette’s name said he was a member of the Attleboro High School class of 2011.
On a Facebook page bearing Sands’s name, the most recent status update, posted Monday morning, read “and people wonder why i [sic] talk about random killing sprees all the time. . . . FED UP.’’
A posting on the page bearing Ringuette’s name replied, saying “im with u [sic]’’ and “columbine ove [sic] again.’’
The exchanges continued, discussing where each might begin shooting and apparently referring to the video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, which rewards players for consecutive killings.
The posts also discussed killing the “school cop,’’ the threat cited in the statement by Attleboro police.
Ringuette’s account posted a message saying, “Head oever to the poll entrance if u havent been killed yet by hines [sic],’’ and Sands’s account replied, “What you mean the first person id kill is obv the school cop. . . and front desk [sic].’’
Attleboro police chief Kyle Heagney told television reporters that parents should not be concerned.
“The school is safe,’’ he said. “Parents should feel the facility is absolutely safe to bring their kids to.’’
Multiple calls to Attleboro school officials were not returned Monday night.