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Thursday, June 4, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Colville fifth-grader allegedly talked of revenge after arrest

Detective says he heard fifth-grader threaten to ‘come back and kill’ whoever told of weapons

Parent Christy Gorst reacts at a public forum Wednesday while reading on her phone a news account detailing an alleged plot by two fifth-graders to kill classmates at Fort Colville Elementary School. (Colin Mulvany)
Parent Christy Gorst reacts at a public forum Wednesday while reading on her phone a news account detailing an alleged plot by two fifth-graders to kill classmates at Fort Colville Elementary School. (Colin Mulvany)

Even after their arrest, two Colville fifth-graders suspected of sneaking a gun and knife to school as part of a plot to kill fellow classmates at recess last week continued to discuss murderous plans for whoever tipped authorities, new documents allege.

“If I find out who told them about our weapons I’m going to kill them,” one of the boys was overheard by a police detective saying to the other as they waited for transport to a juvenile detention facility in Spokane. “I don’t care when I get out of jail I’m going to come back and kill them.”

The exchange is detailed in court documents released Wednesday that also include chilling new details about the level of alleged planning by the boys, ages 10 and 11, who remain in custody. They face charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, tampering with a witness and conspiracy to possess a firearm after they were arrested last Thursday before school started.

Under Washington law, children ages 8 to 12 are presumed not to have the mental capacity to form the intent to commit crime.

However, Deputy Stevens County Prosecutor Lech Radzimski will present the court records to a judge on Feb. 20 to try to show why law enforcement officials believe they have enough evidence to overcome that presumption.

Authorities discovered the purported plan when a fourth-grader came forward and told a school employee. Colville police officers then arrived at Fort Colville Elementary School and began questioning the boys, who admitted the plot and gave details about how they were going to kill a girl in their class, according to court records. As many as six other classmates also were allegedly marked for death, and the plan included shooting anyone who tried to stop them.

The grandmother of the 11-year-old declined comment and the parents of the 10-year-old did not return a phone call placed late Wednesday to their home.

But concerned parents and community members packed the auditorium of Colville High School Wednesday evening at a meeting hosted by the school district.

Some parents said it took up to four hours after the incident for them to be alerted to the issue. “In the event something did happen,” said one, “I would want to be informed a lot sooner.”

Several parents asked if it would be possible to arm teachers, since it takes time for law enforcement to arrive.

One said the state is looking at a law which would allow teachers to carry concealed weapons and asked Superintendent Michael Cashion if he would entertain that idea.

“Yes, I would entertain it as an option,” Cashion said, but warned that professionals that teach children may not want to go through extensive training to “level a weapon at a fifth-grader and shoot them.”

Another parent thanked the district for their actions in the incident.

“Hats off to them,” she said. “We’re not attending any funerals this week. I get to kiss my daughter goodnight every night.”

Last week, school staff found a .45-caliber pistol, a full ammunition clip and a knife in one of the boys’ backpacks after being tipped by another student to the possibility that the boys were armed.

A staff member, Debbie Rogers, asked the 10-year-old why he had the gun. The boy said he and the 11-year-old were going to “get” a girl identified in court documents only by initials.

“When asked what he meant by ‘get’ her, (the 10-year-old) responded that he and (the 11-year-old) were going to get (the girl) away from the school and do her in,” court records state. The 10-year-old “further stated that the (11-year-old) was going to stab (the girl) with a knife and (the 10-year-old) was supposed to keep everyone away.”

The 10-year-old “admitted to Ms. Rogers that there were other students that he and (the 11-year-old) wanted to kill and they had been planning this for a while.”

Rogers then spoke with the 11-year-old, and he told essentially the same story, saying that he and the other suspect wanted to kill the girl “because she was really annoying,” court records state. “I was going to kill her with the knife and (the 10-year-old) was supposed to use the gun to keep anyone from trying to stop me or mess up our plan.”

Rogers then obtained a list of students in their fifth-grade class, and the 11-year-old allegedly showed her six more names of students they were going to target.

Asked about his relationship with the girl, the 11-year-old said that he had been friends with her for several months “but that he hated her now,” Officer Scott Arms wrote. “He also indicated that (the girl) had recently become rude and would pick on him.”

The younger boy said he had been in a “short dating relationship” with the girl but would not give any specifics. He admitted bringing the gun and knife to school: “It was going to go down today,” he said, according to the documents.

The 10-year-old explained that he stole the gun from his older brother. Interviews with the brother revealed that he had stolen the handgun from his late grandfather’s home a few months ago.

The brother “said that he kept the firearm in his bedroom and that his brother must have found his hidden key and removed the case and the gun,” Detective Ron Maxey wrote in court documents.

According to the court records, when Arms asked the 10-year-old if he knew what he was planning was dangerous and against the law, the boy replied: “Yes, I just wanted her dead.”

Reporter Lisa Leinberger contributed to this report.

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