Everett Teen Sentenced 22 Years for School Shooting Plot
The 19-year-old was storing a rifle in his bedroom along with plans for a mass shooting at his high school in his personal notebook.
A 19-year old teenager from Everett, Wash., was convicted of planning a high school shooting and sentenced to 22.5 years in prison.
Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Bruce Weiss sentenced Joshua O’Connor on Thursday, after a three-hour court hearing on Feb. 12, reports HeraldNet.
It was O’Connor’s grandmother, Catherine Katsel O’Connor, who called 911 out of concern for her grandson and the safety of others.
“To me, ma’am, you are a hero,” the judge told her.
In Feb. 2018, she found a spiral notebook in his room full of plans for a massacre. He was also hiding a rifle in his guitar case.
“I’ve been thinking a lot. I need to make this shooting/bombing at Kamiak infamous,” the judge read from the notebook. “I need to get the biggest fatality number I possibly can. I NEED to make this count.”
His initial target was going to be at Kamiak High School, where he previously attended and was suspended twice. Then he decided to flip a coin to see if he would shoot Kamiak or his then-current school, ACES, an alternative high school.
“The results: I’m coming for you Ace’s,” he wrote. “(Expletive) Kamiak you (expletives) got lucky. I hope someone follows in my footsteps and gets you dumb (expletives). I can’t wait to (expletive) up Ace’s! April is gonna be a blast.”
Police also seized grenades and other evidence that proved O’Connor carried out an armed robbery at a local minimart last year.
O’Connor’s plan for the massacre was to plant pressure-cooker bombs under the bleachers, zip-tie door handles and “mow kids down in the hallway and gym,” according to his journal.
He chose a day in late April of last year to align with the Columbine High School shooting.
As his final act, O’Connor planned to kill himself or die in a shootout with the police. He even hand-wrote his will.
O’Connor was also accused of attempting to plan a second school shooting from behind bars this past year.
An inmate told police that O’Connor tried to recruit him to bomb Kamiak and shoot up another high school in May 2018. The inmate claimed to have been beaten in jail because word was leaked that he told an attorney about the scheme.
O’Connor allegedly recruited another inmate, Travis Hammons, to carry out the beating. Hammons was charged with first-degree assault and is awaiting trial.
The teen’s defense team argued that his past has left him stunted and immature. His mother was untreated for an undiagnosed mental illness and he suffered physical abuse.
They asked for a sentence of 12 years in prison, but the judge believed O’Connor was aware of the consequences of his action and that he spent months plotting out the details.
“This was not the work or the brain of a youth with low impulse control,” Weiss said. “It was a plan, premeditated and contemplated. It was not an impulsive act.”
O’Connor wrote in a statement to the court that he feels remorse and embarrassment for his disturbing thoughts. He says at the time he was suicidal and abusing drugs and alcohol.
Over the last year, he says he has matured, turned to religion and is preparing to take college courses.