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Vermont teen accused of plot to "shoot up" high school

February 17, 2018 12:52 AM

FAIR HAVEN, VT - Vermont investigators say eighteen year old, Jack Sawyer admitted he was planning on "shooting up" Fair Haven High School, he just didn't know when he would do it. What led them to Sawyer is exactly what law enforcement has been asking of the public- someone heard something and said something.

Sawyer had been kicked out of Fair Haven High School in the past. He ran away from home in December of 2016 and when he returned home, his parents entered him into a treatment facility for his anxiety and depression. Sawyer's father told police he left the facility a couple of days ago, was not taking his medication and was looking for work back in Vermont.

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On Wednesday, coincidentally on the same day as the devastating Parkland school shooting in Florida, Fair Haven police in Vermont got a call from a mother of a girl who knew Sawyer and was concerned about threats he made against the school and that he recently purchased a 12-gauge shotgun from Dick's Sporting Goods in Rutland. Police spoke with Sawyer that day, he confirmed the purchase but without any further evidence to support the threats they could not take him into custody.

Thursday, Vermont police got a call from the Dutchess County Sheriffs office. They had a report of a female who was receiving messages on Facebook from Sawyer making continued threats against the school. Vermont State Police brought Sawyer in for questioning and they say he admitted to wanting to shoot up the school and was planning on buying an AR-15 and 9mm handgun. Sawyer apparently had no issue with the school itself but was angry at the institution, police say. A search of his car yielded books on the Columbine High School massacre, a gas mask and a journal he labeled "the journal of an active shooter," that included his plan of attack and a kill list.

"To be quite honest with you, this situation in Fair Haven has jolted me. Especially after reading the affidavit, that only by the grace of God did it occur to the young woman who spoke up that we averted a horrific outcome. As a result, I've been asking are we doing everything we can to protect our kids," Vermont Governor Phil Scott said.

Though Scott is a self proclaimed, "fierce and strong supporter of the Second Amendment," he says he wants to find ways to really prevent gun violence, something that will take honest conversations and place a larger focus on recognizing and treating mental health needs.

Sawyer faces charges of attempted aggravated murder, attempted 1st degree murder and attempted aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail. The investigation is ongoing. 

Credits

Karen Tararache

Copyright 2018 - WNYT-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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