EVERETT — An Everett teen allegedly was planning a mid-April massacre of his high school classmates, an attack police believe was planned to coincide with the date of the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School or perhaps the Oklahoma City bombing four years earlier, according to newly released court documents.
“I’m ecstatic for April 19th,” Joshua Alexander O’Connor, 18, allegedly wrote in his journal in early January, circling the date for emphasis.
The entry goes on to describe plans for using bombs to increase the body count and distract police, court papers say.
At the time of that January entry, O’Connor wrote that he planned to attack Kamiak High School, where he had previously been a student. In a Feb. 2 entry, however, he is said to have changed focus to ACES High School, where he is a student this year.
He allegedly made the decision from a coin toss, something that O’Connor allegedly called the “Coin flip of Fate.”
“The results: I’m coming for you Ace’s(sic),” he allegedly wrote. “Damn Kamiak you (expletive) got lucky … I can’t wait to (expletive) up Ace’s!(sic) April is gonna be a blast.”
The excerpts from the journal were included by Everett police early this week in an affidavit to support a search of the home O’Connor shared with his grandparents along Holly Drive in south Everett.
He was arrested Tuesday at ACES High School after his grandmother, 68, contacted police to report that she’d found entries in his journal detailing plans to kill classmates and a military-style rifle in a guitar case.
She told police he usually kept the journal with him always, but she spotted it in his room and decided to take a look. That’s when she discovered the gun, too.
O’Connor remained jailed Friday, charged with attempted first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and third-degree assault.
The charges filed in Everett District Court maintain the $5 million bail previously set in the case. Snohomish County prosecutors face a March 2 deadline to refile the case in Superior Court.
Everett police allege that the attempted murder charge is supported because O’Connor took substantial steps toward implementing a plan for a mass killing. They also told a judge the mid-April date appears significant.
“The emphasis Joshua put in this entry on the date of April 19th is important because the Columbine High School attack took place on April 20, 1999, and the Oklahoma City bombing took place on April 19, 1995,” the search warrant affidavit reads.
O’Connor’s grandmother apparently provided police with photocopied pages from her grandson’s journal.
One page reportedly is titled “Outline for Ace’s (sic) Massacre.” It details, step-by-step, how the attack could proceed.
“Bring gear and weapons (wait till lunch),” the entry reportedly says. “Wait 2-3 mins after lunch bell.”
It then details zip-tying door handles shut — “so (expletives) can’t escape” — and the placement of bombs by bleachers to maximize body count.
Once a bomb detonated, the teen reportedly wrote that he would “start shooting spree and start music.”
The entry continues: “Throw pipe bomb and smoke bomb in office. Mow kids down in hallway and gym.”
Then, O’Connor allegedly wrote, he would end his own life.
A search of the defendant’s home turned up the journal, inert grenades and a High Point 9mm carbine rifle. He reportedly purchased the firearm Jan. 25, and in the journal noted that it was “too (expletive) easy to buy a gun.”
The journal entry confirms what Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Andrew Alsdorf told a judge on Wednesday: that O’Connor bought the rifle in part because it was the same model used by one of the Columbine shooters.
O’Connor reportedly wrote that the killer “had the right idea getting this rifle. It shouldn’t be hard to conceal.” He also mused about buying more hollow-point bullets.
The defendant allegedly wrote how he had been learning from the mistakes made by others involved in mass shootings and bombings.
Police say O’Connor has admitted using the rifle to rob a convenience store Monday along W. Casino Road. Security cameras showed two masked robbers, including one armed with a military-style rifle.
Masks were seized by police during a search of the teen’s room, court papers say. One mask was the likeness of President Donald Trump, the other North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The money from the robbery was supposed to help fund the school shooting, Alsdorf said in court Wednesday. As of Friday afternoon, there was no word on whether police have identified the other person involved.
The third-degree assault charge stems from what police say was a failed attempt by O’Connor to escape after his arrest. He reportedly managed to slip one hand free from handcuffs and fought officers. O’Connor reportedly tried to run but tripped and fell in a landscaping bed, according to court papers.
Everett police detectives have spent the days since the arrest interviewing students and school administrators, seeking more information about O’Connor. They’ve also temporarily assigned a school resource officer to ACES, not because there are known threats at the school, but out of an abundance of caution, Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman said in a news release.
He urged anyone with information about the case to call the Everett Police Department tip line at 425-257-8450.
“This is a case where the adage ‘see something, say something’ potentially saved many lives,” Templeman said. “It is critically important for community members, to include students and parents, to remain observant and immediately report odd or suspicious behaviors with our children or with fellow students. We were fortunate that a family member believed there were credible threats and contacted law enforcement for further investigation. I’m sure the decision was difficult to make, but fortunately, it was the correct one.”
Reporter Rikki King contributed to this story.
Scott North: 425-339-3431; north@herald net.com. Twitter: @snorthnews.