Austin Eubanks: Columbine school shooting survivor found dead

A file picture of Austin Eubanks as a teenager and as an adult

A survivor of the Columbine High School shooting who later became a prominent advocate for fighting addiction has been found dead at his Colorado home.

Austin Eubanks, 37, was shot in the hand and knee in the 1999 Columbine attack, in which 12 of his classmates and a teacher were killed.

He became addicted to drugs after taking pain medication while recovering from his injuries.

Officials say there were no signs of foul play in his death.

Eubanks’s body was discovered on Saturday at his home in Steamboats Springs, Colorado, Routt County Coroner Robert Ryg said.

A post-mortem examination to establish the cause of death was planned for Monday.

His family said he had “lost the battle with the very disease he fought so hard to help others face”.

“As you can imagine, we are beyond shocked and saddened and request that our privacy is respected at this time,” they added in a statement reported by local TV station KMGH.

Eubanks told the BBC in 2017 of how the attack, which killed his best friend, led him to addiction.

“I was medicated on a variety of substances that were intended to sedate and to relieve pain,” he said.

“I became addicted before I even knew what was happening.”

Eubanks later worked at an addiction treatment centre and travelled the US telling his story and working to improve addiction recovery and prevention.

The Columbine High School shooting took place on 20 April, 1999 when two students killed 12 fellow pupils and a teacher. They then killed themselves.

It was, at the time, the deadliest school shooting in US history.

Marlen Ochoa-Lopez murder: Chicago police make three arrests

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson speaks during a press conference at Chicago police headquarters about the arrest of “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett on February 21, 2019 in Chicago, IllinoisChicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson called the murder of Ms Ochoa-Lopez “disgusting and thoroughly disturbing”

Three people have been charged over the murder of a nine months-pregnant teenager whose baby was then cut from her body.

Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, 19, disappeared on 23 April. Her body was found three weeks later on 15 May.

Her baby remains “in grave condition”, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said.

Clarisa Figueroa, 46, and her daughter Desiree Figueroa, 24, have been charged with her murder.

Clarisa Figueroa’s partner Piotr Bobak, 40, was charged with concealment of a homicide.

Detectives say they were first alerted to Clarisa Figueroa on 7 May – two weeks after Ms Ochoa-Lopez’s disappearance – when friends of the teen directed police to her Facebook account where she had made arrangements with Ms Figueroa to pick up baby clothes.

Police allege that Ms Figueroa then lured Ms Ochoa-Lopez inside her home and, with the help of her daughter, strangled the 19-year-old with a cable. Once Ms Ochoa-Lopez had died, her baby was forcibly removed from her womb.

“Words really cannot express how disgusting and thoroughly disturbing these allegations are,” Supt Johnson said.

That same day, Ms Figueroa called paramedics to her home, in the south-west of Chicago, claiming her newborn baby was not breathing.

Ms Figueroa later started a GoFundMe campaign that she claimed was for the funeral of her dying baby, a spokeswoman for Ms Ochoa-Lopez’s family told AP news agency.

Subsequent DNA tests revealed that Ms Ochoa-Lopez was the baby’s mother.

Desiree Figueroa confessed to helping her mother strangle Ms Ochoa-Lopezwith a cable, CBS reported.

Presentational white spacePolice said Ms Ochoa-Lopez had met Clarisa Figueroa previously and had conducted prior exchanges of baby clothes.

On Thursday, Supt Johnson expressed his condolences to Ms Ochoa-Lopez’s family in the wake of her “brutal” murder.

“They should be celebrating the birth of a young baby,” he said. “Instead, they’re mourning the loss of the mother and possibly that young child.”

The three suspects are to appear in court on Friday.

Still no water at the Venezuelan Embassy – Jacqui Voltaire

Hi All, Today Cheri Honkala and the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign will arrive and are plan [see below] to go to the Water Company to try to get the water back on. There will be a Press Conference with the Lawyer’s Guild at 12 Noon today. There is a lot of info below. The first video has a lot of information and if you can listen to it I suggest you so. I hope to get more info out today. And if any of you can get to DC please do and share this widely. The main media is not covering it at all so you know they are being told not to because this is huge!
PS As always if you want to no longer receive these updates let me know.

DC Water Company
9am 5/13 today 
125 -O street SE
Water for Venezuelan Embassy now


Protests continue on both sides as the standoff at the Venezuelan Embassy continues. With access to water shut o…


Alex Rubinstein on Twitter

“Statement from the Embassy Protection Collective after US authorities cut the power to the besieged Venezuelan …


We are reading the new Mother’s Day proclamation at the side of the Venezuelan embassy in Washington DC which is under siege by the coup supporters but we are protecting it’s

Medea Benjamin

We are reading the new Mother’s Day
Another Mothers Day call for peace is being ignored by the war profiteers who are eager for a war in Venezuela. Call your legislators and ask them to tell the Secret Service and the DC police to protect peaceful citizens who need to take food and supplies into the Venezuelan Embassy that they have been empowered to hold legally by the Venezuelan government. Love, Eliz
Image may contain: 8 people, including Medea Benjamin, people smiling, people standing

We would think the U.S. state would be embarrassed.

All three of Venezuelan neo-fascist Juan Guaido’s coup attempts have failed. Donald Trump appears to be raising questions regarding the effectiveness of National Security Advisor John Bolton’s pro-coup strategies in Venezuela.

Yet the assault on the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, D.C., continues unabated.

The electricity and water were turned off this week in an attempt to smoke the Embassy Protection Collective out of the building in the upscale Washington, D.C., neighborhood of Georgetown.

The state still appears to be hot to blame Russia for its ills. Journalist Anya Parampil tweeted a Secret Service officer said anti-interventionists are “paid by Russia or whatever.”

This is a curious statement: “… paid by Russia or whatever.”

It not only shows the U.S. state is still scapegoating Russia after the Mueller report demonstrated Russia did not meddle in the 2016 U.S. election.

Embedded in that statement is the assumption that forms the foundation of U.S. mythology: That in order to be good, one must be aligned with the white supremacist imperialist project. Those who are not white and/or not in alignment with that project are otherized.

As African/Black internationalists, we reject that position and continue to stand with the colonized peoples of the world. (Check out BAP Coordinating Committee member Netfa Freeman breaking down the connection between Pan-Africanism and liberation movements throughout the world in an interview with Eleanor Goldfield of Act Out.) That is why our folks have consistently shown up at the Venezuelan embassy. We understand what it’s like to be under siege by militarized forces, to be deprived of our basic needs, our human rights violated, and demonized by the First World imperialists right here in the belly of the beast. We released an official statement on the matter.

Below, you can see Garrett Harris and Toby Robert of Pan-African Community Action, a BAP member organization, alongside Maurice Carney of BAP member organization Friends of the Congo, and BAP Coordinating Committee member Margaret Kimberley—all willing to stand in the rain for hours yesterday, across the street from the embassy.

The Real News Network interviewed Garrett on the scene last week, when neo-fascist forces first swarmed the scene with their violence.

Now we must ask you to take action to help restore water and electricity at the Venezuelan embassy, and end the neo-fascist siege on the building. Copy and paste the letter below and send it to the following email addresses for Washington, D.C., officials and agencies:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Please restore water and electricity to 1099 30th Street NW, Washington, D.C., aka the Venezuelan embassy. It is a human rights violation to cut off water and electricity. Your top officials can be sued and hauled off to jail.

An embassy is considered a sovereign country inside the United States. You are obligated per Article 25 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to provide resources so that a diplomatic building can function. You are obligated per Article 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to protect the building from the neo-fascist siege currently underway.

The people inside the building are lawful tenants, having met the 14-day threshold of D.C. tenancy. They are also skilled attorneys. When you are sued, the people of D.C. will blame you for being complicit with U.S. gangsterism, the same gangsterism that the United States demonstrates around the world, cutting off access to resources, bombing people of color all over.

These neo-fascists are the same type of people who last year burned an Afro-Venezuelan man alive.

It is unprecedented for the U.S. government to cut off water and electricity to an embassy and allow neo-fascist thugs to damage the outside of an embassy. This siege will have a ripple effect on international relations. Even during wartime, embassies are hands-off zones. Now, how can other embassies expect their buildings to be protected and fully functioning in D.C.? Why wouldn’t another country attack a U.S. embassy abroad after what you have allowed?

Secret Service and Metropolitan Police Department only stand by, watching the thuggery and arresting peaceful people who are being assaulted.

It is in the best interests of PEPCO, D.C. Water and the District of Columbia to stay out of the war the United States is waging on the majority Black and Brown country of Venezuela and its embassy. Immediately restore water and electricity to the lawful tenants of the Venezuelan embassy. Then end the neo-fascist siege on the embassy.

[Your name]
[City, state, country]

No compromise.

No retreat.

Struggle to win,
Ajamu, Jaribu, Margaret, Netfa, Paul, Vanessa and YahNé
Coordinating Committee
Black Alliance for Peace

National Mobilization — Saturday, May 18, 12:00 p.m. Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, D.C. 1099 30th St. NW

The Embassy Protection Collective is calling on all peace and social justice organizations and people from all over the United States to join together next Saturday, May 18, for a massive mobilization in Washington D.C. at the Venezuelan Embassy.
Right-wing and fascist thugs have laid siege to the Venezuelan Embassy. The electricity has been cut off. The water has been cut off and people attempting to bring food were violently attacked and arrested. The Secret Service and the D.C. Police Department, under orders of the Trump Administration, have created a humanitarian crisis in the heart of Washington D.C. at a diplomatic compound that is protected by the Vienna Convention. 
Momentum is building all over the country in defense of the Embassy Protection Collective and in opposition to the Trump Administration’s lawless attempt to seize Venezuela’s Embassy.
Peace activists have been residing inside the Venezuelan Embassy, since mid-April to protect it from takeover by the Trump Administration as part of the U.S. orchestrated coup, they are there as the invited guests of the owner of the building, the Venezuelan government. Organized by CODEPINK, Popular Resistance and ANSWER Coalition, they formed the Embassy Protection Collective. They are demanding that the electricity and water be turned back on, and that food and medicines be allowed inside.

Pompeo to Discuss Iranian “Threats” in Europe as U.S. Ramps Up Military Presence

H2 pompeo on iran threats

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has canceled a visit to Moscow today and is instead heading to Brussels to meet with European leaders to discuss “recent threatening actions and statements” from Iran, according to the State Department. The nature of the threats has not been specified but the U.S. announced it is sending additional bombers and an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf to act as a “deterrent.” The European Union reiterated today its continued support for the Iran Nuclear Deal in the face of mounting tensions with the U.S.

Meanwhile, Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani is calling for internal unity as the nation faces sanctions that could have worse consequences than war with Iraq in the 1980s and that he said amount to “a war unprecedented in the history of our Islamic revolution.”

BBC: Cuban combat pilot released after 39 year US marijuana jail term

  • Bascaro
Bascaro was a fighter pilot for the government of Fulgencio Batista in Cuba

When the gates of the Miami Federal Correctional Institution closed behind him, ending his 39-year incarceration, Cuban exile and former anti-communist pilot Antonio Bascaro emerged holding an ominous record.

Bascaro, 84, has served the longest known US jail sentence for a non-violent marijuana conviction.

The city he finds is far from resembling the place he left back in the late 1970s when he was convicted of participating in a criminal organisation that smuggled more than 270,000 kg (600,000lbs) of Colombian marijuana into the United States.

Skyscrapers now soar above the south Florida horizon and many of the old tile houses of Little Havana, the Cuban exile neighbourhood where he spent most of his days before prison, no longer exist or have been converted into bars and restaurants.

There are even some legal medical marijuana dispensaries around the city which, for the octogenarian ex-cannabis smuggler, could not be more ironic.

Bascaro’s release after almost four decades also brings uncertainty about his future.

Bascaro ate a full Cuban breakfast with his family after his release from jailBascaro ate a full Cuban breakfast with his family after his release from jail
Wearing a Bay of Pigs veteran hat, he drinks a Cuban coffee for the first time in 39 yearsWearing a Bay of Pigs veteran hat, he drinks a Cuban coffee for the first time in 39 years

As a non-US citizen convicted of a major felony, he will find out next month if he will be deported.

His daughter Myra Bascaro is grateful he is free to go. “But where to?”, she wondered in an interview with BBC Mundo.

“To Cuba where he could get arrested again for having fought against Fidel Castro? To Guatemala where he met my mother but where he has nothing and nobody… the country that deported him to the United States almost 40 years ago?”

But in the meantime, he is back to enjoying Cuban coffee with his children. His first meal outside the walls of a federal penitentiary in 39 years was four eggs, double ham, bacon and a guava and cheese pastry. As he tucked in, he marvelled at the silverware, telling his family that he had not been allowed to use metal cutlery in decades.

Sitting alongside his son and grandson, who also became pilots, he thanked them and his supporters outside the jail, but added “it took too long”.

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‘My big mistake’

Back in 1977, Florida was the gateway for drugs into the United States. Miami was the capital of drug trafficking and Little Havana was the covert entrance into the booming underworld.

The state, the city and the Little Havana neighbourhood grew at the vertiginous pace of drug sales while the streets became the battleground where Cuban and Colombian mafias used bullets to settle business disputes.

By the late 70s, the cartels’ “Cocaine Cowboys” had already turned the market around, substituting white powder for weed.

But in Little Havana, marijuana was still the main cash crop.

One day in 1977, Bascaro’s friend Guillermo Tabraue, who owned local a jewellery shop, invited him around for a meal.

Little HavananLittle Havana is one of the most iconic Cuban neighbourhoods in Miami

“That’s where I met the boss and singular owner of the conspiracy,” Bascaro said in emails exchanged with the BBC before his release.

“After a tasty meal and some drinks, he challenged me to join him,” in receiving a shipment of drugs, he said.

“I accepted the challenge and I enjoyed the feeling of excitement,” said the former Cuban prisoner of war. “I had not felt it in years, so I ended up getting involved.”

But 39 years later, the CIA-trained veteran says he now feels “many regrets about what I did”.

He now hopes to spend his remaining years living “a peaceful life” near his family, and to focus on trying to “improve my deteriorated physical and mental health, try to re-organise my life, and be productive for my family and for society”.

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‘The fighter pilot who fought Castro’

Myra Bascaro was 12-years-old when her father was convicted in the US. She did not see him again until she was 24 during a visit to a prison in Pennsylvania.

“He had always been a hero for me: the fighter pilot who fought against Fidel Castro’s regime,” she says, describing him as an admirable man of conviction.

Myra and her fatherMyra Bascaro was 12-years-old when her father was sentenced in the United States

Myra said that she has always believed that her father got into drugs because he was divorced from her mother and felt pressure to earn money to help her and her brothers.

She tells BBC Mundo that for decades she fought to keep her father’s past from affecting her life.

But when he turned 80, she decided to quit her job and start a social media campaign to try to convince the US government to reduce his prison sentence.

“I did everything I could, but I didn’t achieve anything. Even though several [White House] administrations of the United States granted clemencies to hundreds of prisoners, it was always denied to my father,” she said.

Over the 39-year stretch that he spent in prison, several laws were passed that reduced penalties for people convicted of drug crimes. But none benefited Bascaro.

“Since his conviction in 1980, many new laws have benefited prisoners [who were] arrested afterward. But because he had been in jail for so long, those reductions were for people sentenced after him,” she said.

“It seems like they thought that anyone with a conviction so far back would be already dead.”

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‘I never betrayed my military honour’

Bascaro left medical school to join the Cuban Naval Academy in 1952, and later studied aviation in Pensacola, Florida, in 1954.

By 1956 he returned to Cuba and joined the country’s air force.

“I served as a Naval air pilot at the Mariel Air Base until Fidel Castro landed in Cuba. I volunteered to oversee the air patrols to prevent invasions or the entry of weapons into the area occupied by the guerrilla groups,” he recalls.

“I was the youngest naval lieutenant that ever served in Cuba’s navy. I was promoted to that post before turning 24-years-old, in 1958.”

BascaroBascaro fought as a pilot against Fidel Castro’s guerrilla in the Sierra Maestra

“That year, I had to carry out an emergency landing with my plane, the Marine 50,” he said describing the plane which is now kept in the Museum of the Cuban Revolution in Havana.

“I landed in the mountains, in the area that was controlled by Raul Castro.”

After the guerillas captured him, he was taken to hospital, where the brother of revolutionary leader Fidel Castro came to see him.

“He tried to convince me to join his group and I rejected the offer because I would never betray my principles or my military honour,” he says.

BascaroAntonio, fourth to the right, as an aviation student

After refusing, he was jailed from 11 November of 1958 until 2 January of 1959 (one day after the Cuban Revolution ousted the Batista regime).

Later, he was sent by boat to Havana’s Castillo del Morro prison where he remained until mid-March before being released and discharged by the navy a few days later.

La Cabaña fortressLa Cabaña Fortress was used as a prison by the government of Fidel Castro after the beginning of the revolution

“At the Morro prison I used to hear bursts of gunfire every night,” he says, adding that he was twice subjected to mock executions.

“I still don’t know why they didn’t kill me. Looking back, I have more lives than a cat.”

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A piece of history

The old cedars of Havana provide shade most of the year to a small square where an eternal flame burns.

Guarded day and night by soldiers, the fire flickers over the “relics” of the revolution.

The Vought Kingfisher, which Bascaro said he was flying, on display in the Cuban Museum of the Revolution
The Vought Kingfisher, which Bascaro says he was flying, on display in the Cuban Museum of the Revolution

In the yard of the Cuban Museum of the Revolution sits a red delivery truck that a group of young people used in an attack on the presidential palace in March 1957, with the intention of killing then Cuban President Fulgencio Batista, an attempt that failed.

There’s also the Granma, the yacht that Fidel Castro and his followers sailed to Cuba to start their insurrection.

And in front of that, in an overlooked corner, there’s a plane – a Vought Kingfisher that became the first aircraft used by the rebels.

the plaque
In the Museum of the Revolution, a plaque tells the story of the plane that Bascaro says he was piloting

The sign next to it describes how it was taken after being forced to land in the area of the II Oriental Front led by Raul Castro.

It was one of those rare instances in which a Latin American guerrilla had access to a plane, and was, in fact, the first aircraft in the hands of La Revolución.

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Bay of Pigs failure

In his emails with the BBC, he described being released from revolutionary prison by mistake, which caused him to go into hiding in Cuba for two months at his godmother’s house.

He then requested asylum from Uruguay before fleeing Cuba for Guatemala to join a CIA mission training Cuban exiles to invade their home country through the Bay of Pigs.

The air squadron that he commanded never took off to assist the CIA-trained agents, as the mission fell apart soon after the invasion began.

Bay of Pigs soldiersThe invasion of the Bay of Pigs was organised by the CIA

“On that day, the brigade had to disperse into the swamps and most of the officers left behind were captured,” says Bascaro.

“At that moment, I was ready to fly anything that had a motor or wings to help out my comrades abandoned in that secluded beach without escape routes,” he said.

“That was something that disturbed me and many of my comrades for a long time. I know that many of them decided to never fly again and ended up working in other activities.

“Not because of a lack of valour, but because of the deception caused by the fact that the brigade had been abandoned and sent to a certain death.”

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Refusing a deal

Fast forward to 1987 and the criminal organisation to which Bascaro belonged – under the leadership of a Cuban man 20 years younger than him – has a wide network of Colombian suppliers, lawyers, ships, planes and corrupt police officers in Florida.

But a combination of bad weather – and perhaps bad luck – brought an end to their endeavour when a shrimp boat they used to move drugs through the Gulf of Mexico got stranded and was detected by the FBI.

On 21 February, 1980, Bascaro was arrested in Guatemala. He was sent to Miami and handed over to the American Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

After a trial in Georgia, he was found guilty of “conspiracy to import and distribute marijuana”.

Bascaro rejected offers from US authorities to reduce his sentence in exchange for his co-operation on other investigations, leading to his sentence of 60 years in prison.

“I refused to co-operate because my moral values and ethics, as well as my military training, kept me from using someone else or from testifying against another person to solve my problems.

“No one forced me to join the conspiracy. That is why I did not co-operate or try to use anyone else to save my neck.”

BascaroBascaro is currently 84-years-old

As every member of the criminal organisation was eventually tried, sentenced and released, Bascaro became the last one of the group without his freedom.

He sometimes has wondered if there is some hidden reason for why every one of his requests for early release had gone ignored, before in 2019 his sentence was finally reduced by 20 years due to good behaviour.

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‘Judicial quirk’

Amy Povah, president of Can-Do Foundation, a US group working to reduce sentences for people arrested for drug-related crimes believes that the sentence against Bascaro will go down in history.

“Antonio was accused of conspiracy, which is one of the most abusive in the arsenal of the Department of Justice (DOJ) because it charges someone for the actions of others unless they co-operate,” she told BBC Mundo.

She said that because Bascaro rejected collaboration with prosecutors, he was charged with all the crimes committed by his accomplices.

A quirk of the justice system, Ms Povah says, is that those who reach agreements with US prosecutors receive lower sentences for helping them convict anyone who declines to co-operate.

In order to get the benefit of a plea bargain, one does not just confess, she said.

“Co-operation means you must give substantial assistance which, in legal terms, is defined as assistance ‘directed to the investigation and prosecution of criminal activities by persons other than the defendant.'”

According to Ms Povah, most defendants take the agreement, but those that refuse often end up with a “draconian conviction”.

Colorado student, Kendrick Castillo, 18, died charging school shooter

Kendrick CastilloKendrick Castillo, 18, was killed in the shooting at his school

A teenager died in a shooting at a Colorado high school – days before his graduation – while charging one of the attackers, his classmates say.

Eighteen-year-old Kendrick Castillo was the only fatality in Tuesday’s assault allegedly by two students near Denver.

Eight other pupils were injured before the assailants were arrested.

The attack took place just 8km (5 miles) from Columbine High School, the site of one of the country’s most notorious shootings 20 years ago.

America’s latest school shooting unfolded at the STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – School Highlands Ranch in an affluent suburb of Denver.

A school staff member comforts a child after the shootingA school staff member comforts a child after the shooting

‘I wish he had gone and hid’

Classmate Nui Giasolli told US media she was in her British literature class when one of the suspects turned up late and pulled out a gun.

Kendrick lunged at the gunman, “giving us all enough time to get underneath our desks to get ourselves safe, to run across the room to escape”, she said.

John Castillo, Kendrick’s father, described him as “the best kid in the world”, in an interview with the Denver Post.

He said it was not surprising to him that Kendrick was said to have charged one of the shooters as they entered a classroom.

“I wish he had gone and hid,” said Mr Castillo, “but that’s not his character.

“His character is about protecting people, helping people.”

Kendrick was an only child. Mr Castillo said he and his wife are “in a haze”.

The 18-year-old was passionate about science and robotics.

He was going to study at a local college in the autumn, planning to major in engineering, his father said.

Another STEM senior, Brendan Bialy, is also being praised as a hero for helping subdue one of the gunmen.

Brendan BialyBrendan tackled one of the gunmen

Brendan is a recruit for the US Marine Corps but was not trained specifically on active shooter protocols.

Marine Capt Michael Maggitti said in a statement that Brendan’s admirable courage “resulted in the safety and protection of his teachers and fellow classmates”.

Kendrick and Brendan are not the only examples of student heroism recently during a shooting.

Last month at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, a 21-year-old student, Riley Howell, died while tackling a gunman, buying classmates crucial moments to escape, said police.

18-year-old Devon EricksonDevon Erickson, 18, has been named as one of the suspects

How did the Colorado shooting unfold?

Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said the attack happened just before 14:00 local time (20:00 GMT) on Tuesday.

He told reporters the two attackers came in through an entrance that did not have a metal detector and attacked students in two locations.

Both suspects were pupils at the charter school.

There were around 1,800 students on campus at the time of the attack, Sheriff Spurlock said.

Officers arrived on scene within minutes.

“We did struggle with the suspects to take them into custody,” the sheriff said.