» ALSO: Sheriff calls threats a "Columbine-style" attack
“We prevented something from happening,” Cherokee Sheriff Frank Reynolds said after the arrests. “We saved potential lives.”
Dupree and McCurley had access to firearms, but Reynolds said they more likely planned to use a flammable device, similar to what is known as a Molotov cocktail, against school staff. Investigators found weapons and explosives in McCurley’s home and journals inside Dupree’s home with what prosecutors called a “kill list.”
Among those listed were special education students and their teacher, Rachelle Carnesale, an assistant district attorney, told the court Friday. The two had created a map of the high school building as a part of their plan, according to their indictment.
“By the beginning of their senior year, this was something both individuals were interested in carrying out,” Carnesale said.
Dupree had a fascination with school shootings, particularly the April 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Colorado, he claimed. He also has said he studied workplace shootings.
McCurley’s friends and family, who refer to her as “Gabi,” previously told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution she would never go so far as to hurt people at her high school.
Instead, McCurley was the victim of bullying and neglect. Her dark social media posts were cries for help and her plans to hurt others were a mask for her desire to hurt herself, according to Mandy Thomas, a family member.
Many Etowah High School parents kept their children out of school.