Oregon youth accused of plotting school attack

Plan described as ‘video-game style of killing people’ reminiscent of Columbine massacre

The Oregon State Police Explosives Unit removes explosives from the home of a 17-year-old West Albany High School student in Albany, Oregon. Photograph: KGW Media Group/Handout via Reuters

The Oregon State Police Explosives Unit removes explosives from the home of a 17-year-old West Albany High School student in Albany, Oregon. Photograph: KGW Media Group/Handout via Reuters

 

Police in Oregon say they have disrupted a plot by a student to set off explosives at his high school in what one official described as a “video-game style of killing people” reminiscent of the Columbine High School massacre.

The 17-year-old suspect was arrested last Thursday at his home in Albany, according John Haroldson, the district attorney of Benton County. Mr Haroldson said in an interview that the police had confiscated several explosive devices and that the suspect appeared to be trying to get more weapons.

“We intervened on this before he could get all the materials that he wanted,” Mr Haroldson said. “The full-blown plan would have involved even more bombs. It would have involved rifles.” He said the youth would be formally charged tomorrow. Investigators believe that the intended target was West Albany High School, where the suspect is a student. After the arrest, officers searched the school for explosives but found none. “The initial security search will be followed up by a more extensive school search, which will include the use of an explosives detection K-9 from the Oregon State Police, to ensure that the campus is safe for students’ return to class on Tuesday,” an Albany Police Department statement said.

Albany, a city of about 50,000 people, is 70 miles from Portland. The police began their investigation after receiving a tip “that associated [the suspect] with manufacturing a destructive device with the intent of detonating it at a school,” the statement said. The youth’s family has made no public statements. The authorities would not say when the attack was to be carried out, but Mr Haroldson said the police had recovered a detailed checklist and a timeline. He said no single person appeared to be the target. Mr Haroldson also said the suspect had taken a “substantial step towards carrying out the crime,” but would give no further details.

NYT