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Overheard threat helps foil California school shooting plot

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WHITTIER, Calif. (AP) - Officials said Wednesday that they thwarted a student's plot to open fire at a Southern California high school after a staff member overheard the threat by the boy upset over a ban on headphones.

A security guard at El Camino High School near the city of Whittier heard a "disgruntled student" threaten Friday to carry out a shooting, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said. It came just two days after an attack at a Florida high school left 17 people dead.

READ MORE | Catoosa County sheriff on school threats: "We have zero tolerance for this"

Sheriff's spokeswoman Nicole Nishida tells The Associated Press that deputies discovered "multiple guns and ammunition" after searching the student's home.

Robert Jacobsen, general counsel for the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District, said the teen didn't like a teacher's rule banning headphones in class but that school officials don't have any other information about concerns regarding the student.

Jacobsen said the school safety officer overheard the boy mumble to himself that he was going to bring a gun to campus in three weeks.

"They felt there was enough there that they should call law enforcement so they can investigate further," Jacobsen said. "In this day and age, we have to be proactive and make that report and go from there."

He said the safety of students and staff is the highest priority.

"Given shootings that happened in Florida, and we hear about quite a few of them, we're all looking to make sure we can prevent these concerns and find out what's going on," he said.

He declined to provide other details about the student, citing privacy issues.

Superintendent Hasmik Danielian said in a statement that "we responded quickly and effectively when we first learned about the potentially dangerous threat that was made by the student."

"We will remain vigilant in our efforts to make sure that we are doing everything possible when it comes to safety and security for our entire school community," she said.

Officials have scheduled a news conference for Wednesday.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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