Astoria school shooting plot uncovered after Facebook messages - KPTV - FOX 12

Astoria school shooting plot uncovered after Facebook messages

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ASTORIA, OR (KPTV) -

A 16-year-old Astoria boy was arrested Monday after police say he tried to recruit a friend to join him in a mass shooting at Astoria High School.

Authorities say the teen sent Facebook messages to a 15-year-old friend in Warrenton about his plans for several months. But recently, police say, the plan started escalating so the suspect's friend finally spoke up and showed the emails to authorities.

Astoria officers started investigating and learned the plot wasn't a single conversation, but a series of conversations "expressing the desire to shoot people at Astoria High School." They also say the 16-year-old wanted the other teen as a partner in the plot.

Officers say they found corroborating evidence of the conversations, but a search of the 16-year-old's home didn't reveal any guns. Police won't go into detail about the alleged plot, but they say they had to take the threats seriously.

"Had this happened, it would've been a very devastating situation for our community", said Astoria Police Deputy Chief Brad Johnston.

The boy was arrested by a school resource officer on a charge of solicitation to commit murder and taken to the Clatsop County Juvenile Department.

Astoria High School Principal Larry Lockett says the suspected student never raised any major red flags with teachers or staff, but he says the teen did struggle in school.

"He's a young man that we like at this school," Lockett says. "But he's a kid that I feel bad that things haven't worked out for."

Astoria police say they're still investigating and looking for more information about the alleged plot. There does not appear to be any other students involved, they say.

Deputy Chief Brad Johnston says the 15-year-old should be credited for seeing "the severity of the situation" and reporting it to school staff.

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