Jan 28, 2020
Four students reported to university police that another student offered to pay them $500 to allow gun parts to be mailed to their PO boxes. The suspect was purchasing gun parts with gift cards to eventually assemble a fully automatic Uzi, according to one witness and police. Several classmates had been to shooting ranges with the suspect. When asked by a fellow student if he was planning a school shooting, the suspect responded, “Oh no, don’t worry. I’m not going to shoot you.” However, the suspect confided in another witness that the firearm would not be used for hunting or recreational purposes.
Investigation by the campus police revealed that the student was on pre-trial release related to two criminal cases in his home state, both involving vandalism by use of a firearm. In one of the cases, the suspect used a hammer and shotgun to disable security cameras at his high school after normal school hours. When confronted by a citizen, he fled the scene and was later found trying to bury the shotgun, a gorilla mask, and gloves.
As a condition of his pre-trial release, the suspect was prohibited from possessing or attempting to obtain firearms. Once campus police notified authorities in the suspect’s home jurisdiction, the suspect’s bail was revoked, and he was extradited to his home state and incarcerated.
Although campus police could not establish a clear intent to carry out a mass casualty attack at the university (they did not discover a written plan), they believe there was a “high probability of violence involving this student.”
Help Prevent Attacks
If you are aware of an averted attack at a college or university, you can enter the case anonymously in the ASV Database at www.avertedschoolviolence.org. Your information sharing will benefit the learning of numerous other safety agencies.
If you would like assistance entering the case, please contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Campus police and public safety officials are also encouraged to register as ASV Database users on the same website. This will provide full access to the cases in the database, which may be useful as you prepare presentations on targeted violence prevention for your community or design tabletop exercises. Lessons learned from averted attacks may also help inform your policy, training, and procurement decisions.
This case and the lessons learned from it are contained in the National Averted School Violence (ASV) Database, which is administered by the National Police Foundation with funding from the US Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office). Recently, the COPS Office made a grant award to IACLEA to expand the ASV Database to include cases from colleges and universities, in addition to K–12 schools.