Vigilant grandmother spoils school shooting

Joshua O’Connor had detailed plans for shooting, bombing ACES High School
By Brandon Gustafson | Feb 21, 2018
Joshua O’Connor appearing in court last week. He is being held on three felony counts, and his bail was set at $5 million.

Officers from the Everett Police Department arrested Joshua O’Connor, an 18-year-old ACES High School student, on Tuesday, Feb. 13, after his grandmother discovered he was planning a school shooting and bombing at ACES.

According to court documents, O’Connor’s grandmother found a journal with detailed plans of a school shooting, as well as a semi-automatic rifle hidden in a guitar case.

She did not know O’Connor had a rifle, and was shocked at the details in the journal, so she quickly notified police of her grandson's plans.

Excerpts from the journal included O’Connor saying, “I’m preparing myself for the school shooting. I can’t wait. My aim has gotten so much more accurate … I can’t wait to blow all those (expletive) away.”

O’Connor also wrote he was hoping to make the incident “infamous.”

“I’ve been thinking a lot … I need to make this shooting/bombing at Kamiak infamous,” he wrote in a Jan. 9 entry. “I need to get the biggest fatality number I possibly can. I need (underlined three times) to make this count.”

In the same entry, O’Connor went on to say he was reviewing past shootings and bombings, and was “learning from past shooters/bombers mistakes, so I won’t make the same ones.”

In a Feb. 2 journal entry titled “Coin flip of fate,” O’Connor flipped a coin to decide whether to carry out his plan at ACES High School or Kamiak High School, and it resulted in him targeting ACES, contrary to the previous journal entry.

“The results: I’m coming for you ACES. Damn Kamiak, you (expletive) got lucky.”

According to Mukilteo School District spokesperson Andy Muntz, O’Connor transferred to the Mukilteo School District in August of 2016, and went to Kamiak in the 2016-2017 school year. He didn’t show up for classes at the beginning of the current school year, and was dropped from classes and transferred to ACES.

O’Connor’s Facebook profile shows he attended Ironwood Ridge High School in Oro Valley, Ariz.

In the Jan. 9 entry he said he planned to do the shooting and bombing on April 19.

In the court documents, officers say they believe the date is important, as it’s the same day as the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, and one day before the Columbine High School shooting in 1999.

In an entry titled, “Outline for ACES Massacre,” O’Connor wrote he was planning to bring all his gear to school, and would then wait until two or three minutes after the lunch bell, then go to the gym and zip tie doors shut so people couldn’t escape.

In the documents, O’Connor wrote he planned on placing a pressure cooker bomb by the school’s bleachers, and would zip tie doors by a history classroom before detonating the pressure cooker bomb.

“As soon as FTP bomb goes off, start shooting spree and start music. Throw pipe bomb and smoke bomb in office. Mow kids down in hallway and gym."

O’Connor finishes the entry by saying he would then kill himself after the events unfolded.

According to the police report in the court documents, O’Connor’s grandmother told police she had found two inactive grenades in his room.

O’Connor wrote he planned to fill them with black powder to make them live.

He also wrote about how easy it was to purchase weapons.

“So today I just bought a 10 plus 1 9 mm carbine rifle,” he wrote on Jan. 25. “They didn’t have it in stock at West Coast Armory, so it’s going to take a week to come in. I'm just so stoked that I bought it. I can’t wait for the carbine to come. It’s too (expletive) easy to buy a gun.”

After examining his room and journal entries, officers then went to ACES and arrested O’Connor for probable cause.

During the arrest, O’Connor had a knife and marijuana.

According to court documents, as the Everett Police Department officers transported him to their precinct on Southeast Everett Mall Way, O’Connor slipped out of one of his cuffs and ran across the parking lot before falling to the ground.

When the officer approached O’Connor, he was “mule kicked” in the leg and stomach before detaining O’Connor once again.

O’Connor was booked for attempted murder in the first degree for planning and taking substantial steps towards executing a school shooting/bombing. He was also booked for third degree assault for kicking the arresting officer.

According to the court documents, officers found evidence while searching O’Connor’s room that connected him to a robbery on Monday, Feb. 12, at an AM/PM on Casino Road.

According to the court documents, two suspects wearing “novelty masks” entered the store demanding money.

One of the two suspects, believed to be O’Connor, was wearing a distinctive black and green jacket, and was holding an AK-47-style weapon.

The duo collected roughly $100 from the store before fleeing.

Officers found the same two masks, one in the likeness of President Donald Trump and one in the likeness of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. They also found the jacket and the gun used in the robbery.

In the documents, officers say they found a journal entry where O’Connor admitted to robbing an AM/PM and stating how powerful he felt and how scared the female cashier was while he pointed the gun at her.

O’Connor’s grandmother told officers that her grandson was not wearing the jacket when he returned home the night of the robbery, but was carrying a guitar case and told her his jacket was in the case.

The next morning, she found his gun inside the case.

O’Connor has also been booked for first-degree robbery.

Officers have yet to locate his accomplice in the robbery, and are unaware of whether the accomplice knew about O’Connor’s plan at ACES.

Muntz sent his thanks to O’Connor’s grandmother in a statement for the Mukilteo School District.

"The Mukilteo School District is grateful to the student’s grandmother for doing what she did in informing the police of what she found," Muntz said in the email. "Her actions may have saved many lives and underscores the importance that if you see or hear of something suspicious, you need to notify authorities.

“The school district is also very grateful to the Everett Police Department for their fine work in preventing what would have been a major tragedy."

O’Connor is in jail for the three felony counts; his bail was set at $5 million.


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