WASECA, Minn. – Authorities said Thursday that they prevented an “unimaginable tragedy” by foiling a teenager’s elaborate plot to kill his family and bomb the junior and senior high school in the southern Minnesota city of Waseca.
Police arrested the 17-year-old suspect Tuesday and charged him Thursday in juvenile court with four counts of attempted first-degree murder, six counts of possessing explosive or incendiary devices and two counts of criminal damage to property. The charges say he told police he intended to kill “as many students as he could.”
Capt. Kris Markeson told reporters that authorities believe the teenager was acting alone and would have carried out the attack in the next few weeks if he hadn’t been caught. Markeson said he was disturbed by the amount of guns and other material the youth obtained. He said he could not divulge whether specific students were targeted. He said police were tipped by a resident who reported a suspicious person at a storage facility.
The investigation began in late March after three small explosive devices were discovered at an elementary school playground. The youth allegedly admitted setting off practice bombs there.
Police got a break Tuesday with the tip. An officer found the teen in a storage unit that had numerous materials that could have been used to make bombs.
He told police he had ammunition, guns and bombs in his bedroom and provided a key to his gun safe to officers. Police recovered seven firearms, ammunition and three functional bombs from the boy’s home, along with black clothing and a ski mask, KARE-TV reported.