Yesterday, police in Waseca, Minnesota made a chilling announcement--they had uncovered evidence that a local teenager had planned to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre with a bloodbath of his own before committing suicide by cop. Now that teenager may be facing adult charges, and a lot of people are asking a lot of questions.
John David LaDue, who police say outlined his plot in chilling detail — and backed it up with a cache of guns and homemade explosives — is already charged as a juvenile with four counts of attempted murder, two counts of first-degree damage to property and six counts of possession of a bomb by someone under 18. Adult charges against LaDue are expected to be addressed at his next court appearance, on May 12, said Waseca County prosecutor Brenda Miller.Back on Tuesday, Chelsie Schellhas was washing dishes when she happened to notice someone cutting through her backyard to get to a nearby storage unit. To Schellhas, something didn't add up--there was a road nearby, so what was this guy doing going through her yard? According to KARE in Minneapolis, Schellhas thought the guy took way too long to open the unit. She was originally going to see if he needed help, but her cousin suggested they call police. When police arrived, they found a stockpile of bomb-making materials and promptly arrested him.
At Waseca High School, which was closed Friday due to a scheduled staff development day, the mood was “various levels of somber,” said Superintendent Thomas Lee. While students stayed home from school and police continued investigating, faculty and administrators talked about addressing students, parents and the community in general.
Lee said that some teachers openly struggled, asking, “How could I have missed this?” Others walked around in stunned disbelief. Still others were “beating themselves up,” Lee said.
A search of LaDue's house yielded seven guns as well as a 180-page journal detailing a plan to kill his parents and sister, then attack the school and kill as many people as possible after throwing police off the scent by setting a fire in a nearby forest. He planned to use Molotov cocktails and pressure-cooker bombs to wreak maximum havoc before being killed by the SWAT team. According to Minnesota Public Radio, LaDue idolizes the Columbine shooters, and also referenced the massacres at Sandy Hook and Virginia Tech. LaDue reportedly told police he had originally planned to launch his attack on April 20--but discovered that day was Easter Sunday. He also admitted to setting several practice bombs at area schools, churches and parks.
Police chief Kris Markeson thinks that LaDue had every intention of going through with this plot, based on the fact he spent 10 months preparing for it. He was also gobsmacked at the arsenal LaDue had assembled.
To put it mildly, the community is stunned. They saw no warning signs at all that LaDue--a B student who liked to play his guitar most of the time--was even contemplating something like this. Looks like a lot of questions are going to be asked about this for a long time.