A student at a Florida aeronautical university was apprehended Thursday after local authorities discovered his plot to stage a shooting on campus before winter break.
Daytona Beach Police received tips from students about a possible shooting involving John Hagins. Investigators soon found social media posts detailing his plan to bring a folding gun to campus, according to the Miami Herald.
Officers stormed the 19-year-old student’s apartment and found a backpack containing a folding rifle, six magazines filled with bullets, ear protection, a scope, and several boxes of 9mm ammunition.
In a news conference, police officers disclosed that Hagins planned to wreak havoc at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach one day before students were set to leave for winter break.
While the suspect confessed to the threats, he later insisted that it was only a joke. Daytona Beach PD Chief Jakari Young stated that Hagins did not have a criminal record but is on academic probation. Thanks to tips from other students, police were able to intervene before a possible bloodbath occurred.
“We could have had a tragedy unfold today. Instead, these students reported it to the school and that allowed us to get to work right away and bring Hagins into custody before he could carry out his plans,” Chief Young said. “We thank them all for seeing something and saying something.”
Details of the Arrest
Fox 10 reported that the 19-year-old aeronautical student has been charged with written threats to injure or kill, terrorism, and attempted first-degree homicide. He is now being held at the Volusia County Jail without bond.
Police cornered Hagins in his off-campus apartment as he was on his way to a firing range with the backpack.
“He said once he was done at that firing range, he was going to campus to enact a ‘Columbine,'” Chief Young said, referencing a 1999 Colorado high school campus shooting that killed 15 people including the gunmen.
This has been the second student-related incident on Florida campuses recently. Last Friday, an 18-year-old aeronautical science student named Alhaji Sow was shot and killed in a confrontation with police officers after wielding a knife at a Florida Tech residence hall.