Cellmate of would-be school shooter pleads guilty to assault

Travis Hammons attacked a man — reportedly for telling an attorney about plans to attack high schools.

EVERETT — A deputy had found the man in the emergency room of an Everett hospital in May 2018, his face bloodied and his right eye swollen shut.

He had been beaten up at the Snohomish County Jail, the man told the deputy, because he informed his attorney that an inmate tried recruiting him to attack local schools.

That inmate was teenager Joshua O’Connor, who was sentenced in February to nearly 23 years in prison for plotting to shoot classmates at ACES High School in South Everett.

The attacker was his cellmate, 30-year-old Travis Hammons. He pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree assault in Snohomish County Superior Court. He could be sentenced between 5¼ and 7 years in prison, according to state guidelines.

Prosecutors are recommending the higher end of that range. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 29.

While in jail, the victim said he had befriended O’Connor, who reportedly laid out plans to turn pressure cookers into makeshift explosives to bomb Kamiak High School. Another time, he talked about driving by Mariner High School and shooting students from the road.

O’Connor hoped his fellow inmate would join, prosecutors wrote.

Instead, the man told his attorney about O’Connor’s plans.

He was attacked shortly after.

On May 2, 2018, O’Connor invited him for coffee. The man said he got a strange feeling and didn’t go inside O’Connor’s cell.

As he walked away, someone asked if he was going to testify against O’Connor. The man denied that he would say anything.

Hammons then began punching and kicking him. When the man collapsed, Hammons picked him back up and slammed his head against the wall repeatedly, according to charges.

The man said he lost consciousness. When he came to, he heard an inmate saying, “You’re going to kill him.”

Hammons allegedly replied, “Good, that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Surveillance footage showed that the attack lasted 57 seconds, before another inmate briefly broke up the fight, prosecutors wrote. The assault then went on for another 16 seconds, until a corrections deputy arrived.

The man was taken to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett with a broken nose, bruising and a small amount of bleeding on the brain.

Prosecutors noted that it wasn’t the first time Hammons has attacked someone. He previously had been convicted three times of felony assault, and another two times for misdemeanor assault. As a juvenile, he pleaded guilty in 2005 to second-degree rape.

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; zbryan@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @zachariahtb.

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