Teenager Charged With Felony Conspiracy In Second Plot to Attack School


A Long Island teenager who was planning a violent attack on his former high school has entered a not guilty plea to felony conspiracy.

Christopher Franko, 18, and his friend Dana Saltzman, 16, were originally arrested in May after the boy’s social worker alerted authorities that he might be planning an attack, according to Suffolk County police. At that time they were charged with misdemeanor conspiracy, but a grand jury has since voted to upgrade the charges for Franko. Saltzman, who was released after the earlier arrest, will be arraigned on the same felony conspiracy charge later this month.

In 2007, Franko had been arrested on similar charges, albeit as a juvenile. The case was handled in Family Court and the teenager was ordered into a special-education program, from which he has since graduated. It was in that program that he met Saltzman, who is still a student.

The couple had planned to attacked Connetquot High School this Thursday, using shotguns to kill a security guard stationed outside the school, and then to go inside and shoot as many students as possible. According to Assistant District Attorney Glenn Kurtzrock, the teens also planned to fire on any law enforcement authorities who arrived on the scene, and finally to kill themselves.

Their plan hit a snag when they attempted to buy firearms but were turned away because they were underage. They were waiting for Franko to turn 18—which he did on June 8, just two days before the planned attack—and intended to buy one gun on his birthday, and another the next day. They had also spent a considerable amount of time researching bomb-making on the Internet, and a history of Saltzman’s Web activities revealed a number of visits to bomb and explosives sites. Additionally, the pair had exchanged cell phone text messages outlining their plan to buy guns and shoot their peers.

Franko’s motive, said Kurtzrock, was a history of having been teased by his classmates and some angry exchanges on Facebook. Since the teen’s former high school class would be graduating in a few months, this was his last chance to attack so many of them at one time.

Franko, whose court-appointed attorney from Legal Aid entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf, was ordered to be held without bail by Suffolk County Judge Stephen Braslow.

Both Franko and Saltzman are being charged as adults. If convicted on the charge of felony conspiracy, Franko could face a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.


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