Washington State

Mom finds teen’s detailed ‘manifesto’ for Columbine-style attack, Washington cops say

A Washington state teenager’s journal included vivid details of an attack plot on a local high school, planned for the anniversary of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, police said.

The 17-year-old was arrested on Tuesday after his mother called police to report that she had found his “disturbing journal,” College Place police said in a news release.

“It’s very detailed the way he wrote it, and there were obviously times and a date was established of 4/20 2020,” said police spokesman Dylan Schmick, according to KEPR. “There was mention of specific firearms and explosives he wanted to use as well as locations.”

The teen’s journal also included plans to kill his mother and her boyfriend, KXLY reported.

Police said that beyond the teen’s journal, they “also discovered other supporting literature within the teen’s bedroom.”

“There were a few things that were concerning, between some books and some other notebook writings that kind of matched up with the other notebook,” Schmick said, according to KXLY. “And the ‘manifesto,’ which is what he actually termed it as in the writing.”

The teen is enrolled at College Place High School, which was immediately alerted about the threat, according to police.

By the time the mother reported finding the journal, school was out for the day and the teenager was arrested when he got home, according to police.

“The mother was very emotional and loves her son. This was not an easy thing to do, but it was the right thing to do,” Troy Tomaras, the police chief, said in a statement Tuesday. “The mother wanted to prevent others from being hurt, and wants her son to get the help he needs.”

Police said the teenager’s mother discovered explosive-making materials months ago but disposed of them, KEPR reported.

“We did not locate any firearms or explosives in the teen’s possession,” Schmick said, according to HuffPost. “However, we did locate literature on how to develop explosives and other weapons.”

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The teen was booked at the Walla Walla Juvenile Justice Center on charges of felony harassment and threats to bomb or injure property, police said.

“Whether the child was fully intent on this actually (happening) or not, I mean these statements we have to take with the highest level,” Schmick said, according to KXLY. “We can’t fool around with them.”

Following the threat, College Place High School leaders said in a statement that the school was scheduled to run on a regular schedule Wednesday.

“College Place Public Schools take this very seriously and will be working with the authorities to ensure the safety of all students and staff,” school leaders said. “We encourage all residents, staff and students to be aware of their surroundings and to report any suspicious activity to the authorities.”

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Jared Gilmour is a McClatchy national reporter based in San Francisco. He covers everything from health and science to politics and crime. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and grew up in North Dakota.