UPDATED at 11:30 p.m. Aug. 17:
Based on alleged threats of serious violence against students and staff at , two 15-year-old boys were in custody on suspicion of conspiring to commit murder, authorities said today.
On Aug. 8—just days before the Aug. 21 start of the school year—the Murrieta Police Department was contacted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Temecula Sheriff's Department regarding online threats made against a school campus, possibly in Murrieta, according to Murrieta police Lt. Tony Conrad.
The Murrieta Police Department Juvenile Investigations Unit assumed the investigation when it was learned the two 15-year-olds were involved in the "planning of a serious threat at the high school," Conrad said.
"The Murrieta Valley Unified School District and school administrators worked closely with the Murrieta Police Department during the investigation, as the number one priority is student safety and any and all threats are investigated," Conrad said.
The students were arrested Wednesday at the completion of the investigation, he said. They were both being held at Southwest Juvenile Hall in Murrieta while the case is under review by the Riverside County District Attorney's Office, he said.
The names of the boys—both students at Vista Murrieta High School—were not released by police. However, they were identified in an article by The Press-Enterprise as Reed Peery and Samuel Noble, based on information the newspaper stated it received from the Riverside County District Attorney's Office.
John Hall, spokeperson for DA's office, told Patch he was unable to comment on anything involving the arrest or pending charges for the two boys because of their age.
A resident who did not wish to be identified told Patch they saw Murrieta police and law enforcement "kick down the door" at one of the boy's homes Wednesday.
"They were looking for an AK-47," the resident said. "There were all kinds of police—and undercover—taking pictures and taking all the computers out of the house."
Parents of students at Vista Murrieta High School were notified of the threats in a message Friday from Principal Darren Daniel, according to District Spokesperson Karen Parris. The message can be seen by clicking here.
One of the students allegedly revealed their plans in an anonymous online conversation, Parris said.
"They did have a date planned; it was not in the near future," Parris said.
"Law enforcement officers on the East Coast were notified about the online conversation and the FBI became involved in the investigation. After tracking the posting to Murrieta, the FBI notified local law enforcement," Parris said, in a news release.
"It was determined to be a credible threat by FBI and police," Parris told Patch.
District Superintendent Stan Scheer reassured students, staff and parents that “The district’s top priority is student and staff safety."
"We are thankful that law enforcement officers from the East Coast to Murrieta took these threats seriously and they were able put a stop to this before the threats could be carried out," Scheer said.
“We have been cooperating with local and federal law enforcement throughout the investigation," said the District's Safe Schools Director Wayne Sakamoto.
Sakamoto also noted that district schools have several safeguards and emergency procedures in place to ensure staff and student safety including a strong partnership with Murrieta Police Department.
While the district is prohibited from releasing information about student disciplinary actions, Student Support Director Butch Owens said in a released statement: “Generally speaking if a student makes threats to commit violence on school grounds, the discipline could range from suspension to expulsion.”
According to Parris, the principal of Vista Murrieta High School plans to meet with faculty on Monday—prior to first day of school on Tuesday—to discuss how the campus will address the issue.
Additionally, she said safety assemblies are held for each grade level during the first week of school.
"They will definitely be discussing this during the assemblies," Parris said.
"Thankfully, the person on the East Coast notified the FBI, and the Police Department did such a great job in investigating it," she said.
For more information, contact Parris at 951-696-1600 ext. 1022.
Anyone with information about this incident was encouraged to contact Murrieta Police Department’s 24-hour dispatch line at 951-696-3615.
The district also maintains an anonymous We-Tip Line at 1-800-78-CRIME or 1-800-782-7463, where anyone can anonymously share information about anyone who has committed a crime or who is thinking of engaging in any illegal activities, Parris said.