ACES High Teen Turned in By Grandmother Pleads Guilty to School Shooting Plot

The teen originally pleaded not guilty to the charges, which include first-degree attempted murder and possession of an explosive device.

ACES High Teen Turned in By Grandmother Pleads Guilty to School Shooting Plot

A high school student whose grandmother turned him in to police after finding detailed plans in his journal to carry out a school shooting has changed his plea to guilty.

Eighteen-year-old Joshua O’Connor was arrested at ACES High School in Everett, Wash., on Feb. 13 – the day before the Parkland school shooting – after his grandmother contacted police regarding his journal. His bail was set to $5 million and he has been behind bars since, reports KOMO News.

The three charges, which he originally pleaded not guilty to, include first-degree attempted murder, first-degree robbery with a firearm and possession of an explosive device.

The day before his arrest, O’Connor admitted to police that he had robbed a convenience store at gunpoint and planned to use the money to support his school shooting plot.

“I need to make this count,” O’Connor reportedly wrote in his journal. “I’ve been reviewing many mass shootings/bombings (and attempted bombings). I’m learning from past shooter’s/bomber’s mistakes.”

According to court documents, O’Connor also wrote he wanted the death count to be as high as possible so that the shooting would be infamous.

His journal entries included details on how to make pressure-cooker bombs, activate inert grenades and deploy explosives for maximum casualties.

Police searched O’Connor’s home, which he shared with his grandmother, and found his journal, inert grenades, and an AK-47 they believe was used in the robbery.

As part of a plea agreement, the prosecutor agreed to drop a weapons allegation on the attempted murder charge, which could reduce his sentencing by five years.

“We did believe it was important for Mr. O’Connor to take responsibility for what he did and to be held legally accountable for the steps he took,” said Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Andrew Alsdorf.

O’Connor will be sentenced by a judge in February 2019 and faces up to 28 years in prison.

If you appreciated this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

About the Author


Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

Leading in Turbulent Times: Effective Campus Public Safety Leadership for the 21st Century

This new webcast will discuss how campus public safety leaders can effectively incorporate Clery Act, Title IX, customer service, “helicopter” parents, emergency notification, town-gown relationships, brand management, Greek Life, student recruitment, faculty, and more into their roles and develop the necessary skills to successfully lead their departments. Register today to attend this free webcast!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get Our Newsletters
Campus Safety HQ