Talk of ‘Columbine style’ attack was a joke, teens say. But Tulare deputies make arrests

Tulare County sheriff’s deputies are at Elbow Community School in Tulare County after two teens — a 13-year-old and a 14-year-old — were overheard talking about carrying out a “Columbine style” attack, where they could “kill a lot of people,” the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.

School staff believed the threat could be credible and called law enforcement. The students admitted to having the conversation but said they were joking, the sheriff’s office said.

Elbow Community School is east of Visalia near Ivanhoe. The school serves students expelled from other schools.

Deputies contacted the parents and will be searching their homes. Both students have been detained and will face charges of making terrorist or criminal threats, the sheriff’s office said.

“Sheriff (Mike) Boudreaux and the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office take any kind of criminal threats very seriously,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “They are never a joke. Parents, please have this conversation with your children. We want everyone to feel safe in our schools.”