Monday, July 07, 2003

It ain't just out there in the 'fly-overs'

via Reuters:
Three N.J. Teens Arrested in Alleged Massacre Plot
Mon July 7, 2003 11:21 AM ET
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Three New Jersey teen-agers, who apparently dressed like characters from the Matrix movies, faced criminal charges on Monday for plotting a shooting spree that police foiled at the last minute, authorities said.

Matthew Lovett, 18, and two unnamed accomplices aged 14 and 15, were armed with rifles, swords, knives and 2,000 rounds of ammunition when they surrendered to police in Oaklyn, New Jersey -- a suburb less than 10 miles from Philadelphia -- after an attempted weekend carjacking, police said.

The trio were allegedly planning to target three middle school students from Oaklyn and then carry out random attacks on as many people as possible.

"It's extremely like Columbine with the exception of instead of walking into a school, they were going to drive around town and be mobile that way," said Oaklyn Police Chief Christopher Ferrari.

He was referring to the April 1999 shootings at Colorado's Columbine High School, where two teens who belonged to a group called the "Trench Coat Mafia" killed 13 people before taking their own lives.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Monday that the three teen-agers called themselves "Warriors of Freedom," practiced martial arts, and dressed in black to imitate characters in the Hollywood film "The Matrix" and its sequel, "Matrix Reloaded," which recently opened at U.S. cinemas.

Their plot was foiled early Sunday when the three tried to stop a motorist in an attempted carjacking, police said. The motorist contacted an Oaklyn police officer, who cornered the youths and forced them to surrender.

Lovett, 18, who graduated from high school this year in nearby Collingswood, New Jersey, was charged with aggravated assault, illegal possession of firearms and carjacking. His two alleged accomplices were not identified because of age.

All three were expected to face murder conspiracy charges.

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