HALIFAX — Two teenage boys were remanded Wednesday on 20 weapons-related charges each in connection with the discovery of a bag of weapons and ammunition in woods near a local high school.
The charges included two counts of weapons trafficking, theft, possession of stolen property, four counts of carrying a concealed weapon, and four counts of possession for a purpose dangerous to the public peace, among others.
Following a four-minute court hearing Wednesday, Crown prosecutor John Nisbet said that the weapons seized included a shotgun, a rifle, a pellet rifle and a pellet pistol.
"We are worried about them maybe selling these weapons,'' said Nisbet.
Nisbet said he opposed the release of the 15- and 17-year-olds because he simply needs to find out more information about the case. They have been remanded until a show cause hearing on Friday.
"They are not charged with threats, they are not charged with actually assaulting anybody,'' he said. "Part of what we need to find out is what was going on, what was in their heads, what's the risk to the public, what's the danger, and what are they likely to do in the future.''
— Millwood High School (@millwood_high) April 5, 2016
Nisbet said it needs to be determined whether they pose a risk if released and whether a good release plan can be worked out in the interest of public safety.
Both teens stared ahead intently wearing black hoodies as they appeared before Judge Barbara Beach.
One was stocky with close cropped dark hair, wearing jeans.
The other was taller and more slightly built with lighter coloured hair. He wore camouflage pants.
The parents for both teens were in court, but neither they nor defence lawyer Kai Glasgow would comment following the hearing.
Worries of a school shooting
Earlier, RCMP acknowledged the weapons discovery had prompted public concerns about a shooting plot, but a police spokeswoman added that police didn't know what the threat was.
Cpl. Jennifer Clarke said the police presence had been increased at Millwood High School after the arrests Tuesday following a request by school officials. She wouldn't say how many officers were on site Wednesday.
Police said they received a tip from a member of the public Tuesday that there were people with firearms in the area of the school and Millwood Elementary school in Middle Sackville.
The high school was locked down and Clarke said police later found a duffel bag containing the weapons and some ammunition.
Clarke said she understands that parents and students might be concerned about a possible attack at the school, but said police are investigating and do not yet know if there was a threat.
'I can't speculate'
"We knew we had people going in the direction of the school with guns and obviously our concern was the safety of the students, but any further than that I can't speculate,'' she said about suggestions that the teenagers were planning to take the guns to the school.
She said two suspects were later arrested — one at the scene and one nearby.
An 18-year-old man was also arrested Tuesday evening in connection with the incident, RCMP said Wednesday. He faces a charge of uttering threats.
Also Wednesday, police in Cape Breton said they were called to Sydney Academy just before 9 a.m. after a threat was received. A statement from Cape Breton Regional Police said the school was put on lockdown because of a potential weapons complaint.
The lockdown ended just before 1 p.m. Although police took one person into custody, they said in a release that it wasn't connected to the weapons investigation. No further details were provided.