VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WJZ) — Police arrested two teens who they say were planning a terrorist attack at a Virginia Beach high school prom last weekend.
Michael Coleman, 18, and an unnamed 17-year-old were arrested and charged with conspiring to commit an act of terrorism at the Bayside High School senior prom.
The two were not students of the school and not associated with anyone there, according to police, but they tried to buy tickets to the prom. Officials say that alerted police who were stationed as extra security at the Westin Hotel where the prom was being held.
Police spotted Coleman Saturday night at the hotel where he dropped a 9mm handgun and ran after officers confronted him.
“I saw a guy running by probably eight to 10 policemen who were chasing behind him — probably 20 25 feet behind him — and they were saying, ‘Get out of the way,'” said witness Dwight Cardin.
Police eventually captured Coleman and searched a hotel room at the Westin where they found a 17-year-old boy armed with a semi-automatic rifle with a fully loaded clip and a box of additional ammunition.
Coleman faces several charges, including conspiracy to commit a terrorist act. That charge alone carries a minimum of 20 years behind bars and a maximum of life.
According to court documents, Coleman has no prior criminal record.
He is being held at the Norfolk City Jail until his next court date later this month.
No one was injured and prom went on uninterrupted.
The 17-year-old who was arrested is being held in a detention facility and will appear in court June 27.