A would-be school shooter has been arrested for allegedly planning a school shooting at ACES High School in Everett, Washington.
Catherine Kastel-O’Connor called the police on Tuesday after finding that her grandson Joshua Alexander O’Connor had written disturbing journal entries that detailed how O’Connor was planning to attack his high school. The police in Everett, which is about 30 miles north of Seattle, were alarmed at allegations and advised ACES High School that this appeared to be a credible threat. The school pulled the suspect from his class to meet with an officer who was ready to arrest him.
While in custody, O’Connor managed to pull a hand out of one of his cuffs and make a run for it. During the attempted escape, O’Connor tripped and fell down onto a mulch-covered area. An officer caught up to O’Connor, and he kicked the policeman in the leg. The officer was able to secure him after a brief struggle.
O’Connor was arrested at the school and booked into the Snohomish County Jail for the investigation of attempted first-degree murder, felony assault on an officer, and first-degree robbery.
Detectives later obtained a search warrant on the grandmother’s home after finding two military grenades in O’Connor’s room. They seized the journal, the rifle stored in a guitar case, inert grenades, a cell phone, and a High Point 9 millimeter carbine rifle.
“Officers were also told the grandson had a rifle stored in a guitar case. As officers reviewed copies of the journal, they were alarmed at the statements and detailed plans to shoot students and use homemade explosive devices at ACES High School,” a statement from Everett police read.
O’Connor’s entries journal included details about building pressure-cooker bombs, the use of inert grenades, and deploying explosives for maximum casualties. “I’m preparing myself for the school shooting,” O’Connor reportedly wrote in the journal, according to the Daily Herald. “I can’t wait. My aim has gotten much more accurate … I can’t wait to walk into that class and blow all those (expletives) away.”
He also wrote that he wanted to make the death count as high as possible so that the shooting would become infamous. “I need to make this count,” O’Connor reportedly wrote. “I’ve been reviewing many mass shootings/bombings (and attempted bombings) I’m learning from past shooters/bombers mistakes.” Police believe that O’Connor planned to die during the shooting.
Another entry described an armed robbery of a convenience store to help fund the school shooting, which police reported that O’Connor admitted to, according to Fox News. Police believe that it was a holdup from 10 p.m. Monday in the 900 block of W Casino Road. Security cameras showed two masked robbers entering the store. The pair left with $100.
In the journal, O’Connor wrote that he felt powerful as he held the cashier at gunpoint.
O’Connor’s public defender Rachel Forde noted that the gun and grenade shells were legal to possess. According to Forde, the “musings and ventings” in O’Connor’s journal is not sufficient evident to support a charge of attempted murder.
Everett police updated the statement on Thursday, stating that while there are no known threats to schools in the area, a school resource officer has been assigned to ACES High School as a precaution. “This is a case where the adage ‘see something, say something’ potentially saved many lives,” said Chief Dan Templeman in the statement. “It is critically important for community members, to include students and parents, to remain observant and immediately report odd or suspicious behaviors with our children or with fellow students … I’m sure the decision was difficult to make, but fortunately, it was the correct one.”
O’Connor’s bail was set at $5 million, and authorities are continuing to investigate this case.
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