Caleb Hutton / The Herald
                                Joshua Alexander O’Connor during a court appearance.

Caleb Hutton / The Herald Joshua Alexander O’Connor during a court appearance.

In note to self, would-be shooter anticipated his own death

Police are examining a letter by Joshua O’Connor, who is accused of planning an attack at ACES High.

EVERETT — An Everett teen accused of planning to massacre his classmates April 19 reportedly wrote a letter to himself early this year, foreshadowing what he expected would be his own death.

Joshua Alexander O’Connor, 18, wrote the letter Jan. 27 while participating in a seminar at Cocoon House, according to a search warrant filed recently in Snohomish County Superior Court.

O’Connor’s letter was supposed to be something of a “time capsule” and meant to be opened and read months in the future, Everett police detectives were told. The message’s purpose was to serve “as a gauge of improvement that could show the attendee how they are progressing in goals and in life,” court papers said.

After O’Connor’s Feb. 13 arrest in connection with the thwarted attack at ACES High School, leaders at Cocoon House determined “that it might be in O’Connor’s or society’s safety interest” to review the letter, the search warrant affidavit said.

The message is described in court papers as “cryptic,” with O’Connor reportedly writing to himself “RIP,” or rest in peace. The message also reportedly says that “April will be a wild month,” and that he never will read the letter.

Randall Marrs, the Everett detective who prepared the search warrant affidavit, wrote that it appeared O’Connor was predicting that his life was about to end, and that “something dramatic” was going to happen in April.

Cocoon House told police about the letter and its contents, but said they couldn’t provide investigators a copy without a court order or search warrant, documents say. Detectives sought a judge’s permission to obtain the letter, records show.

The Everett-based nonprofit provides shelter and other services to youth. O’Connor was not a client, but he had attended the Jan. 27 seminar and exhibited no “red flags,” police were told. He even remained afterward to speak with the instructor.

O’Connor is now charged with attempted first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and illegal possession of an explosive device. He’s pleaded not guilty and his trial recently was rescheduled to September. He remains locked up at the county jail in Everett, his bail set at $5 million.

Prosecutors allege that O’Connor did more than muse about attacking classmates. They point to a journal he kept that reportedly details plans for staging a school attack modeled largely on the 1999 killings at Columbine High School.

O’Connor reportedly purchased a Hi-Point 9mm carbine rifle, a style of weapon used by the Columbine shooters. He also spent a day at his high school in January costumed as mass murderer Eric Harris. That was part of his final assignment in an acting class, court papers say.

O’Connor was arrested after his grandmother, 68, contacted police to report that she’d found entries in his journal detailing plans to kill classmates. Her search of his room at their home also turned up the military-style rifle in a guitar case and apparent explosives.

The journal reportedly recounts O’Connor picking the date for the attack and describing plans to shoot, stab, burn and bomb classmates.

“I’m ecstatic for April 19th,” he allegedly wrote in his journal in early January, circling the date for emphasis.

Eric Stevick contributed to this report.

Scott North: 425-339-3431; north@herald net.com. Twitter: @snorthnews.

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