List of unsuccessful attacks related to schools
This is a list of unsuccessful or foiled attacks related to schools. These are foiled school-related attack plots that resulted in a conviction. A broad definition of the word attacks is used for this list so as to include public attacks or one’s self (suicide).
Foiled or exposed plots
|October 12, 1992||Lincoln, Nebraska, United States||A 43-year old graduate student, Arthur McElroy, walked into an actuarial science class at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and attempted to open fire on about 20 students with a .30-caliber M-1 carbine. As students reacted by hitting the floor and pulling desks over their heads in anticipation, the gun jammed, and McElroy was apprehended. A court later found McElroy insane. He was taken to the Lincoln Regional Center’s Forensic Mental Services unit in December 1992 and is still there as of 2013.|
|May 1999||Port Huron, Michigan, United States||A 12-year-old, 13-year-old and two 14-year-olds, all boys, planned to outdo Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold at Columbine massacre. They planned to hold up a gun store and then attack the school. Once there, they planned to rape some of the girls and shoot as many as 154 targets which they had drawn up on a list. They had stolen a building plan from the custodian’s office but they were all caught within a day of a classmate’s report to an assistant principal.|
|January 30, 2001||Cupertino, California, United States||De Anza College student Al DeGuzman planned a Columbine style school shooting at the school. An employee at a Longs Drugs store developed pictures of DeGuzman posing with his guns and homemade bombs. She and a coworker called police. DeGuzman was arrested when he returned for his photos. Police found Deguzman’s bedroom stacked from top to bottom with sophisticated handmade bombs and a map of De Anza College, marked with locations where bombs would be placed. In October, 2002, DeGuzman was sentenced to seven years in state prison. He later committed suicide by hanging himself in his jail cell.|
|February 14, 2001||Elmira, New York, United States||Jeremy Getman, 18, planned a school attack at Southside High School but it was foiled after students told a teacher that he was carrying weapons. He carried 14 pipe bombs, three smaller bombs, a propane tank, a sawed-off shotgun, and a .22 caliber pistol into the school by a duffel bag and also a book bag full of ammunition. On December 17, 2001, he was sentenced to 8½ years.|
|March 16, 2004||Malcolm, Nebraska, United States||17-year-old Joshua Magee was arrested in the parking lot of Malcolm High School after a school staff member, who saw the youth drinking liquor and putting on a black overcoat, called police. A search of Magee’s car produced a bolt-action rifle, 20 bombs and a note stating that he wanted to injure everyone at the school except for three friends. Magee, to whom the school paid close attention after it was reported to faculty that he was experimenting with explosives at home, was charged with attempted murder.|
|January 25, 2005||Grand Marais, Minnesota, United States||17-year-old David Riehm was arrested at his home on January 25, 2005 after authorities at Cook County High School turned over a collection of writings and essays to police in which Riehm described in great detail shooting and killing his English teacher. After spending 72 hours at Miller Dwan Hospital, Riehm was released. He was later acquitted of all charges.|
|September 14, 2006||Green Bay, Wisconsin, United States||Two 17-year-old boys were arrested the morning of Sept. 14 at Green Bay East High School for allegedly planning an armed attack on their school. Authorities said they found suicide notes at the homes of both Shawn Ryan Sturtz and William Charles Cornell. The following items were also found at Cornell’s home: handmade explosives; bbs; gunpowder; toilet paper tubes and firecrackers; six one-quart jars of napalm; nine long guns, including rifles and shotguns; one handgun; walkie-talkies; numerous pellet guns; hundreds of rounds of ammunition; and mannequin heads that may have been used for target practice. In total, 110 items were seized.|
|October 11, 2007||Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, United States||14-year-old Dillon Cossey was arrested at his home in Plymouth Meeting after a friend told police about his plan to carry out a Columbine style attack on Plymouth Whitemarsh High School. After a police-conducted search of the Cossey residence, officers found a 9 mm Hi-Point Carbine, which he named “Reb” in honor of Eric Harris, over 30 airsoft guns, a dozen knives and swords, seven homemade explosives, four which were live, a copy of The Anarchist Cookbook, and several movies about the Columbine High School Massacre, all which were in the boy’s bedroom. A .22 rifle and a .22 pistol, which were lent to another acquaintance for safe-keeping, were also recovered by authorities. However, no ammunition turned up in the search, so investigators have concluded that the threat of an attack was not imminent. Even on Cossey’s MySpace page, he discussed his admiration for the bank robbers of the North Hollywood shootout as well as for Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the Columbine gunmen. In his trial, Cossey confessed that he was going to carry out his shooting to kill the people who had relentlessly bullied him in elementary and middle school. Bullying led his parents to pull him out of public school at the end of his 7th grade year and home-school him. It was later found that he also had contact with Pekka-Eric Auvinen, the perpetrator of the Jokela school shooting, though Cossey apparently had no knowledge of Auvinen’s plans. Cossey is currently serving time in juvenile detention and could possibly stay until the age of 21. His mother, Michelle Cossey, faced charges for purchasing the weapons and other charges regarding the welfare of her son.|
|June 4, 2008||Mishawaka, Indiana, United States||16-year old Russell Frantom was arrested after notebook retrieved from his locker at Penn High School stated, “I wanna break the current shooting record. I wanna get instant recognition.” He and a 33-year-old possible accomplice, Lee Billi, were charged with conspiracy. Lee Billi was sentenced to 10 years in prison on March 26, 2009.|
|December 4, 2008||Pottstown, Pennsylvania, United States||15-year-old Richard Yanis was arrested for plotting a school shooting at Pottstown High School after his father reported to police three missing handguns. An investigation revealed that Yanis had stolen the guns from his father and put them into a duffel bag, which he handed to a friend with the words to “hold onto it”. After checking the bag Yanis’ friend told his mother of the weapons, who then forced him to get rid of them by throwing them into a river. After his arrest Yanis admitted that he had planned to shoot people at his school he didn’t like, before committing suicide.|
|March 11, 2009||Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, United States||An eighth grade student who attended St. Andrew School in Drexel Hill was arrested after a fellow pupil he attempted to recruit for an attack tipped off authorities. The suspect was then pulled from class and later arrested. Shortly after, two Airsoft pistols were found in his backpack, one of them looking very much like a real gun. The plan of the 13-year-old student was to force the school in lock down and shoot anybody who tried to escape. He is charged with terroristic threats and reckless endangerment and is currently held in juvenile detention. He is also charged with burglary for stealing $370 from another school in Drexel Hill on the previous weekend. It is noted that the suspect has a history of mental illness.|
|March 18, 2009||Attleborough, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom||A 16-year-old student, identified by his initials T.B., posted a threat on the website Newgrounds stating that he was going to go to Attleborough High School (currently named Attleborough Academy) with a gas canister and set it on fire and commit other acts of violence. A Newgrounds user from Montreal, Canada notified English authorities via Skype after seeing the threat, and T.B. was arrested as he was approaching the school, and was found carrying a knife, matches and a plastic gas canister containing flammable liquid. He was arrested for threats to commit criminal damage and possession of an offensive weapon, and was being held under Mental Health Act. He admitted to threatening to damage property and having an offensive weapon on school premises.|
|October 21, 2009||Monroe, New York, United States||A 15-year-old boy from Monroe was already on juvenile probation when he broke down crying as he admitted he stockpiled bottles of gasoline, makeshift fuses, a torch, a 2-foot (0.61 m) machete and three tanks of propane in a plot to attack former fellow students at Monroe-Woodbury High School.|
|November 17, 2009||Beauvais, France||A 13-year-old boy, who was said to have had difficulties at his school, was arrested in Beauvais, accused of having planned to shoot his teachers. His parents had called police after they found their son acting strangely and a gun missing. When the boy, armed with a hunting rifle and 25 cartridges, arrived at the school it was already surrounded by police, so he dropped his plans, left the rifle in a field and went to an Internet café in the city. That day a parent-teacher meeting was scheduled to discuss his future at the school, and it was suspected that he wanted to prevent this meeting from taking place. He apparently also wrote in a blog the evening before that this was the last day in his life.|
|August 17, 2011||Tampa Bay, Florida, United States||17-year-old former student of Freedom High School Jared Cano was arrested for a bomb plot and shooting against his school in an attempt to outdo the Columbine massacre. He left behind bomb materials, video, and a manifesto. He had been expelled form the school in March 2010. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.|
|March 30, 2012||Orivesi, Finland||A 23-year-old man fired two shots with a flare gun, hitting his ex-girlfriend’s father in the arm in an office building. After the incident he left and drove to Orivesi high school, took his rifle and went to the third floor, apparently after his ex-girlfriend. He then knocked on the door to the classroom and tried to shoot the teacher who opened the door, but the gunman’s rifle didn’t fire and the teacher was able to shut the door. The gunman then fired four rounds through the door, but did not hit anyone. He was apprehended by police outside the school and the gunman dropped his rifle.|
|May 27, 2013||Albany, Oregon, United States||Grant Acord, a 17-year-old junior who was attending West Albany High School was found with an arsenal of explosives under the floorboards of his bedrooms. The explosives included a Molotov cocktail, a napalm bomb, and Drano bombs. He supposedly wanted to make a more “successful version” of the Columbine High School massacre. He was charged with attempted aggravated murder and six counts each of unlawful possession and manufacture of a destructive device. He is held on $2 million bail.|
|July 3, 2013||Seattle, Washington, United States||Justin M. Jasper was arrested by University of Washington police after being found in a stolen truck on campus. Inside the truck police found a stolen rifle fitted with a scope, a stolen shotgun, body armor, knives, a machete, and six incendiary devices. Jasper also had maps to three local campuses, the University of Washington, South Seattle Community College and Seattle University, in addition to anti-government literature and documents about the Syrian and Brazilian revolutions. Jasper had posted a podcast a few days prior to his arrest that indicated Jasper had anti-government views and was planning something in the western United States in support of the Brazilian revolution. He was charged in federal court with several felonies, had his bail set at $2 million US and is currently awaiting trial.|
|September 2013||Cumming, Georgia, United States||51-year-old Joseph Medved was arrested for reportedly threatening to shoot up a school at a drug clinic. Police were contacted and followed Medved after he bought a shotgun at a local store. He was arrested when he took the gun home and started shooting.|
|December 20, 2013||Trinidad, Colorado, United States||Two boys, 15 and 16, were arrested for planning an attack on Trinidad High School at the start of the new year. They had been planning the attack for up to six weeks. The 15 year old reportedly idolized the Columbine High School and Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooters.|
|March 2014||Leicestershire, England||17-year-old Michael Piggin was arrested after planning to attack his former school and other areas, including a cinema and a mosque. He detailed his plans in a notebook and stockpiled homemade bombs, a terrorist manual, and various weapons. He also filmed a video of him throwing a Molotov cocktail.|
|March 4, 2014||Danbury, Connecticut, United States||18-year-old Natalie Carpenter and 19-year-old Peter Thulin were arrested on March 4 and accused of planning a shooting at Danbury High School. Carpenter was reportedly obsessed with the Columbine High School massacre.|
|May 1, 2014||Waseca, Minnesota, United States||17-year-old John David LaDue was charged on May 1 with 10 attempted murder and explosives counts in a plot to shoot his family to death and then kill himself and “as many students as he could” by blowing up Waseca Junior/Senior High School, according to authorities. Explosives and materials used to create explosives were found in his possession. LaDue reportedly idolized the Columbine High School massacre shooters.|
- School-Related Deaths, School Shootings, & School Violence Incidents: 2000–2001, National School Safety and Security Services
- School-Related Deaths, School Shootings, & School Violence Incidents: 2002–2003, National School Safety and Security Services
- School-Related Deaths, School Shootings, & School Violence Incidents: 2004–2005, National School Safety and Security Services
- School-Related Deaths, School Shootings, & School Violence Incidents: 2006–2007, National School Safety and Security Services
- School-Related Deaths, School Shootings, & School Violence Incidents: 2007–2008, National School Safety and Security Services
- School-Related Deaths, School Shootings, & School Violence Incidents: 2008–2009, National School Safety and Security Services
- School-Related Deaths, School Shootings, & School Violence Incidents: 2009–2010, National School Safety and Security Services
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- Man shot through a classroom door in Finnish school – arrested shortly after, Iltalehti(March 30, 2012)
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- ^ a: Including death or injury of attacker(s), when applicable.