Middle School Students Suspected of Using Gaming App to Plot Deadly Attack

Three students at the Carl I. Bergerson Middle School in Albion, New York, are suspected of posting threatening messages via an app called Discord, a voice and text chat for gamers.

A plot to carry out a violent attack at a middle school in western New York has been thwarted, The New York Times reported on Friday. The students are suspected of using a gaming app to communicate with each other. 

Three middle school students were charged with second-degree conspiracy and accused of planning an armed assault at the Carl I. Bergerson Middle School in Albion, Orleans County district attorney Joseph V. Cardone told the Times.

To communicate their plans, the students are suspected of posting threatening messages and images via an app called Discord, described on its website as an "all-in-one voice and text chat for gamers." The app is free and able to be used on desktop computers as well as phones. 

When reached by The Hollywood Reporter, Sean Li, director of trust and safety at Discord, released the following statement: "We’re committed to ensuring that Discord is a positive and safe place for all our users. We have a zero-tolerance approach to harassment and illegal activity on our platform and take immediate action when we become aware of it."

The plan, which allegedly included a specific date for the attack, was discovered earlier this week after a student made an online threat. This prompted law enforcement to open an investigation, which deemed the threat credible. Investigators later found an unspecified number of guns, legally owned, in the students homes. 

Albion police chief Roland Nenni said in a news conference that the intention of the three students was "to enter the school with explosive and incendiary devices and firearms to kill and injure students and staff."  Computers and cellphones are being examined as part of the ongoing investigation. 

A request for comment by the Orleans County district attorney was not immediately returned.