Grandmother Thwarts Alleged Mass Shooting Plot at Wash. High School

A grandmother showed police her grandson’s journal, which contained plans to carry out a mass shooting at ACES High School in Everett.

Grandmother Thwarts Alleged Mass Shooting Plot at Wash. High School

A journal, an assault rifle and grenades were found in the student's bedroom.

A high school student in Washington state has been arrested after his grandmother allegedly showed officers his plans for a school shooting.

The grandmother of 18-year-old Joshua Alexander O’Connor contacted police Tuesday morning after she found his journal, which allegedly contained plans to shoot students and use homemade explosives at ACES High School in Everett, Wash., located 30 miles north of Seattle, reports ABC News.

“I need to make this count,” O’Connor reportedly wrote. “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 allegedly 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.

“I’m preparing myself for the school shooting,” he allegedly wrote. “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.”

After obtaining a search warrant for the grandmother’s home, police seized the student’s journal, a rifle found inside a guitar case and inert grenades. The grandmother says she did not know he had a rifle.

O’Connor attended Kamiak High School in Mukilteo before transferring to ACES this fall, according to K5 News. Police say he flipped a coin to determine if he would target Kamiak or ACES.

ACES High School was contacted regarding the threat and O’Connor was arrested at the school. A knife and marijuana were allegedly found on his person.

Mukilteo School District spokesman Andy Muntz says O’Connor was not on their radar and that he is grateful for the grandmother’s decision to turn in her grandson.

“It really speaks to the importance of if you see something or hear something, to notify the authorities,” said Muntz. “That’s what she did. It could well have saved many, many lives, including her grandson’s life.”

Classmate Olivia Fox says she was shocked at the accusations against O’Connor.

“There was a lot of shock around the school when they released a picture of who it was,” she said. “Me and a couple of his other good friends are shaken up because we know how good of a kid he is.”

O’Connor was booked at the Snohomish County Jail on probable cause for attempted first-degree murder, felony assault on an officer and first-degree robbery.

Although his defense attorney says he has no prior criminal history, police say O’Connor admitted to robbing a convenience store on February 12, reports the Herald Net.

Security cameras showed two masked robbers entering the store in the 900 block of W Casino Road at approximately 10 p.m. The grandmother told police O’Connor returned home carrying a guitar case the night of the robbery.

One journal entry reportedly mentioned how powerful he felt when he held up the clerk at gunpoint and that he was going to use the money to support his shooting plot.

About the Author


Amy is Campus Safety’s Senior 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.

In her free time, Amy enjoys exploring the outdoors with her family.

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