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TRAGEDY IN COLORADO

Other Cases Eerily Close to School Deaths

Shootings: Around the nation, students have been arrested in incidents this week that harken to Littleton. In one, they mocked the massacre.

April 23, 1999| From Times Wire Services

Around the nation this week, several students have been arrested in incidents of violence, threats or mocking of the school shooting that left 15 people dead in Littleton, Colo., authorities said.

Four teens who wore black trench coats to a Colorado Springs high school were arrested, an Ohio youth was taken into custody for threatening to kill his classmates and a 14-year-old Louisiana boy was charged with attempted murder after a 14-year-old girl was shot in the cheek.

A day before Tuesday's shooting, Georgia officials arrested two teenagers for allegedly threatening to shoot their classmates. Those teens, who sometimes wore black coats like the ones worn by the Littleton gunmen, had some sort of Internet link to the shooters, police said.

The four teens in Colorado Springs, described as "Gothics" by police, showed up at a neighboring high school wearing coats and black masks. They were confronted by a group of students.

"The suspects were mocking yesterday's events," police in Colorado Springs, about 65 miles south of Littleton, said Wednesday.

All four--boys ages 16, 17, and 18 and a 16-year-old girl--face trespassing charges. One faces third-degree assault charges after allegedly hitting his father, who apparently then had a heart attack and was hospitalized.

In the Ohio incident, a 13-year-old boy was taken into custody Wednesday after he said he was going "to come into the school with a gun and kill all of the people that he didn't like," said Police Chief Scott Ballentine in Tuscarawas, 90 miles east of Columbus.

In Scotlandville, La., police said the boy arrested told them that he was aiming at a male student he had argued with earlier.

The teen and an alleged accomplice, also 14, were arrested hours after the shots were fired from a parked car 100 yards away from Scotlandville Middle School. Charges against the accomplice were not specified.

One .22-caliber bullet hit the 14-year-old student in the cheek as she passed between buildings. She was treated at a hospital and released.

In Georgia, a 15-year-old boy and a 16-year-old boy were suspended from school and arrested Monday after a handgun was found in one of their bedrooms after they allegedly threatened last week to bring the gun to school to shoot someone. They are charged with misdemeanor firearm possession.

The connection between the Evans, Ga., teens and the Littleton teens wasn't immediately clear. State school Supt. Linda Schrenko said she didn't know if the local teens had merely visited the Littleton group's Web site or had been in communication with them.

In the small town of Wylie, Texas, meanwhile, parents pulled their children from school Thursday after a bomb threat was reportedly found spray-painted across a cafeteria wall.

"This morning, profanity and a threatening statement were found written on a wall and equipment of the Wylie Intermediate School cafeteria," Wylie police and the Wylie Independent School District said in a statement.

In Pleasant Hill, Calif., College Park High School was evacuated after police were called in to examine a package "obviously designed to look like a bomb." The package proved to be a hoax.

And in Whittier, Calif., students arrived at La Serna High School Thursday morning to find that someone had scrawled "Trenchcoat Mafia," "You're next," "666" and other messages on walls and lockers.

Police stood guard at the school throughout the day. The messages were quickly painted over, but some students said they and their classmates remained uneasy.

"It was a scary day," one 16-year-old girl said.

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