There Was Almost Another School Shooting This Week — But The Shooter's Grandmother Stopped It

Photo: The Daily Herald
There Was Almost Another School Shooting On Valentine’s Day - But This Grandmother Stopped It
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He wrote about his plans in his journal.

A school shooting in Everett, Wash. was prevented thanks to a grandmother who found her grandson’s disturbing journal and called the police.

Joshua Alexander O’Connor, 18, was pulled from class at ACES High School and arrested Tuesday on attempted murder charges due to planning and taking substantial steps toward executing a school shooting, the police statement stated.

The student’s grandmother, Cathi O’Connor, discovered shocking journal entries about a mass shooting her grandson was planning to commit and dialed 911.

"I'm finding journal entries from my grandson," Cathi told 911 dispatchers, according to CBS. "He's planning on having a mass shooting at one of the high schools."

Police said O’Connor had bought inert grenades, hidden a semiautomatic rifle in a guitar case, and written about the school shooting he planned to carry out, according to The Daily Herald.

“I’m preparing myself for the school shooting,” O’Connor’s journal said. “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.”

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The fate of O’Connor’s peers was nearly sealed by a coin toss. His journal said he couldn’t decide between ACES High School and Kamiak High School so he flipped a coin. ACES became his target, according to The Washington Post.

O’Connor wrote that he wanted the death toll to be as high as possible so that his shooting could become infamous.

“I’ve been reviewing many mass shootings/bombings (and attempted bombings) I’m learning from past shooters/bombers mistakes, so I don’t make the same ones,” his journal reads.

Officers who met with Cathi to review O’Connor’s journal entries “were alarmed at the statements and detailed plans to shoot students and use homemade explosive devices at ACES High School” and contacted the school immediately.

“This is a case where the adage ‘see something, say something’ potentially saved many lives,” said Chief Dan Templeman in a news release. “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. We were fortunate that a family member believed there were credible threats and contacted law enforcement for further investigation. I’m sure the decision was difficult to make, but fortunately, it was the correct one.”

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O’Connor had also written about an armed robbery he committed. He explained, "how powerful he felt and how scared the female cashier was at him pointing his gun at her." 

Police believe he was involved in the armed robbery of a local convenience store Monday. Two masked men, one armed with an AK-47, held up the cashier for $100 cash.

The second robber has not been identified. It is unclear if the second robber was aware of O’Connor’s plans.

Police are investigating whether O’Connor was plotting the shooting alone or if he had help.

They also said O’Connor probably planned to die in the shooting, according to The Daily Herald.

“Our main thing right now is gratitude, especially to the grandmother,” said Andy Muntz, a spokesman for the Mukilteo School District. “That couldn’t have been easy for her to do. The Everett police also did a wonderful job. That combination may have saved a lot of lives.”

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