(LAPEER COUNTY) – Three Lapeer County teens were sentenced to probation for making a Columbine-style threat to shoot up Zimmer Middle School and Lapeer High School last year. Dylan DeAngelis, 16; Asa Candela, 16, and Gunner Rice, 15, will serve five years of probation for their roles in hatching the plot in February 2017. They had been charged with conspiracy to commit murder and terrorism, with a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison. The trio pleaded guilty last fall to multiple counts of false threats of terrorism and use of computer to commit a crime. Law enforcement first learned of the alleged planned attack over a year ago.
Terms of the probation include no use of any social media, drugs, alcohol or firearms. The teens were placed on GPS tethers and placed on house arrest with no overnights allowed. They are required to continue online classes to qualify to receive their high school diplomas.
The former Zemmer Middle School students were sentenced under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, and would be re-sentenced as an adult, should they violate terms of their probation.
In response to the sentencing, the Lapeer School District released the following statement:
“Today’s sentencing in the Zemmer case marks the close of a long and difficult chapter for our entire community, but especially the parents, students, and staff of Lapeer Community Schools. We acknowledge that these events will forever impact the lives of the three young men in court today, but we hope that the sentencing will serve as the beginning of a new chapter for our community as a whole. In addition, we hope this entire situation will serve as a stark reminder for all students that words matter. Any threat, real or perceived, to the well-being of our school community will not be tolerated.”
The release went on to say, “From the moment we became aware of the threat, our exclusive and relentless focus has been the health, safety, and welfare of all our students, staff, and employees. Today’s sentencing ensures that these young men will have no contact with each other or the students and staff at any of our buildings. To that end, we have taken every opportunity to support the activities of law enforcement, including the Prosecutor’s Office, with the singular goal of ensuring that our students and staff are safe while at school.”
School officials said, “This has been and will remain the focus of Lapeer Community Schools. We appreciate the work that has been done by law enforcement, the Prosecutor’s Office, and the Court to bring these three individuals to justice and, most importantly, protect our school community from the contemplated evil which may have resulted. ”
The press release concluded by saying the district, “encourages all students, parents and community members to remain vigilant and to take advantage of upcoming opportunities to engage with the District on the important topic of school safety. As always, we encourage all parents to monitor their children’s activities on social media. “