HS students charged as adults for alleged murder conspiracy

Published: Mar. 19, 2015 at 5:24 PM MST|Updated: Apr. 2, 2015 at 1:24 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - UPDATE (March 27, 2015): The Pima County Attorney's Office declined to file homicide conspiracy charges against the arrested students, saying there is a "clear lack of substantial evidence to prove that an agreement or intent to actually commit murder existed."

Tucson police arrested five high school students Wednesday for an alleged plot to kill one of their classmates.

According to police, the students made very detailed plans about how the attack would happen on the campus of Flowing Wells High School, 3725 N. Flowing Wells Road.

Tucson police Sgt. Pete Dugan said four of the suspects are juveniles, but are being charged as adults. They were identified as 17-year-old Anastasia Lakin, 17-year-old Jessica Good, 15-year-old Gabriel Quiroga and 15-year-old Andrew Totten.

The fifth student was identified as 18-year-old Christopher Gibson.

All five were booked into the Pima County Jail for conspiracy to commit first degree murder, according to police.

Police say one student had brought a knife to school. Administrative staff located that student and found the knife in his possession, according to police.

Police didn't release details of the motive for the plot, saying only that the suspects were having problems with another student in their group.

Both students and parents at a track meet Thursday afternoon could not believe the news. Aaron Gomez, a student at Mountain View High said he couldn't imagine someone he knows plotting to hurt or kill him.

"It's kind of scary because you could go to the same school as these people," he said. "And for them plotting to kill you, just to have one disagreement. That's kind of really messed up."

Peter Thomas, who arrived at the track meet to watch his daughter, said he likes to think the best of her friends but a crime like this can create doubts. He said it's sad to know that children, or young adults, can turn to violence to resolve their issues. Now the five suspects will be processed through the justice system instead of the walking the halls of their high school.

"They've lost more than their innocence today," said Thomas. "They've lost their ability to graduate with their friends. It's a sad day in Tucson."

School counselors will be available to students when they return to classes. Thomas said it's a terrible situation, but he hopes it's a tough lesson that isn't ignored.

"Whatever happened, I hope it all comes out that it can be a learning tool for not just those kids, but my kids too."

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