Teen Wrote of Mass Shooting, Planned Event “Bigger Than Sandy Hook”: DA

A 17-year-old high school student accused of making threats to an Oceanside high school appeared in juvenile court for his detention hearing.

A 17-year-old teen accused of making criminal threats toward an Oceanside high school will be detained after prosecutors said they found a journal with “very graphic” and articulated threats toward multiple people.

The teen, arrested Friday, now faces one count of making a criminal threat, one count of threatening a school official and one count of being a minor in possession of ammunition. At his detention hearing in juvenile court Wednesday, Judge Aaron Katz denied the defense’s request to release the boy to his parents.

The student -- who has not been identified because he is a minor -- was first brought to administrators for writing a note under a false name that threatened a teacher, investigators said. When they performed a safety check on him Friday, officials said they found an empty handgun holster in his pants.

He was taken into custody once investigators said they found a journal, in which the suspect wrote about killing people in a school shooting. Previously, investigators told NBC 7 the threats were connected to El Camino High School, though prosecutors clarified Wednesday the threats were connected to Ocean Shores High School, where he was a student at the time.

At the detention hearing, Deputy District Attorney Andrija Lopez detailed the evidence investigators found after they took the boy into custody, including the note that first alerted investigators to him. Lopez said the note, which was left on the desk of a teacher he appeared not to like, had the teacher’s name on it and the word “dead” written next to it.

In the journal, Lopez said, was one note saying that what the teen was planning would be “bigger than Sandy Hook.” That December 2012 mass shooting left 20 children and six adults dead at a Connecticut elementary school. In a later video found by prosecutors, he expressed disappointment that those involved in the Sandy Hook shooting were not able to get away with them.

Lopez said the evidence they found was “very graphic.”

When officials detained the boy Friday, prosecutors said they found an empty gun holster on his belt in addition to a spent ammunition cartridge in his backpack.

In videos found by prosecutors, the teen could be seen firing a rifle. He apparently claimed to belong to a secret militia. He said he had a plan to get rid of his evidence and avoid getting caught for what he planned to do.

When detectives served a search warrant to his house, they went through his bedroom and found body armor, replica guns and handwritten notes threatening violence toward people at school, according to police. Prosecutors later revealed they had also found tactical gear, such as a Kevlar vest, at the hom.

Deputy Public Defender Dorothy Daniels asked the judge to consider letting the teen be released to his mother and father, arguing the teen was having difficulty coming to terms with his suspension from El Camino High School.

The judge did not order a psychological evaluation but indicated it would be appropriate. The defense agreed to have the boy evaluated.

The teen will next appear in court on May 22.

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