Daytona Beach — A student at Embry-Riddle Aviation University who threatened to cause a shooting on campus was arrested Thursday when he left the apartment with a foldable semi-automatic rifle and a backpack containing hundreds of ammunition. it was done. Daytona Beach police said.
Police chief Jakari Young said the suspect, John Huggins, 19, was detained at Andros Isle Apartments in the 100 Aklins Circle on Daytona Beach after 9:30 am.
In a press release, police said Hagins faced numerous accusations, but the exact accusation has not yet been determined. Police were still interviewing him late Thursday afternoon.
According to Young, Huggins posted a message on social media suggesting that he would carry out a mass shooting on the last day of his college class on Thursday.
“He left the apartment, headed for Volusia Top Gun (shooting range) for practice, and then headed for Embry Riddle,” Young said.
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According to Young, the campus was full on Thursday.
“Today is the last day before winter vacation … Today is the final exam, so this was all part of the plan. Today, the campus is full because everyone has to be there to take the final exam. Because it will be, “says Young. “So this was all included in his plan.”
Campus officials called police at 4:10 am after several students who were part of a Snapchat group, including Huggins, warned authorities about the threat Huggins posed on social media platforms, Young said. did.
The threat of shooting and killing the school surprised the students. According to one post, when Huggins was stopped after leaving the apartment, he “finished shopping at school” about a 9mm caliber Kel-Tec foldable rifle in a backpack containing nearly 300 ammunition. It is about.
“By the grace of God, these two students went forward and prevented Embry-Riddle Aviation University from talking about the next national media story about the shootings on its campus,” Young said. ..
Young said the students who warned the authorities about the threat showed the importance of “if you see something, say something” and gave them the opportunity to intervene in the Daytona Beach police.
Johann Restrepo, president of the ERAU Student Organization, also said the students were grateful for the practice of the saying, “Look at something and say something.”
“I think the students are grateful to hear the whole story and report it,” Restrepo said. “The shock is still there because of the possibility of shooting. They are definitely (students) shocked about how close we are to becoming a national headline.”
When police were notified, investigators began looking for Hagins. Police surrounded his apartment when they learned that he lived in Andros Isle Apartments, Young said.
Young said he went out as police waited for the warrant to enter Huggins’ apartment.
“We were able to grab him and detain him. As soon as we detained him, we realized he had this backpack. There is a magazine he had in this backpack. You see, “says Young. rifle. “
Daytona Beach Sergeant Tim Ehrenhaufer said Huggins was surprised and shocked when he found police surrounding his house. He asked how long the police were waiting outside, Ehrenkaufer said.
Young said there were several boxes of 9mm ammunition in his backpack. The bag also contained 5 magazines, each with 17 magazines, and an extended magazine with 32 magazines. The rifle scope also had a weapon, the chief said.
“He was loaded for the bear,” Young said.
Hagins confessed to the threat, but told investigators that it was all a joke, Young said. In a press release, police said Huggins sold his car to buy guns and ammunition.
“He might want to argue that it was all a joke and not serious about it, but I find nothing interesting about discussing the shootings on campus,” Young said. I don’t think he wanted the attention he had, but he does. “
When he was called about the plot earlier Thursday, Young said he immediately thought about the shootings at Oxford High School in Michigan on November 30. 1999: Columbine.
“In fact, he was referring to Colombine. He said he would go to campus to enact Colombine when he was done at the shooting range (shooting).”
According to university spokeswoman Ginger Pinholster, Huggins is an undergraduate student majoring in aeronautical science at Embury Riddle.
Pinholster refused to comment on how Huggins behaved at school or if there was a disciplinary action issue at college because of privacy law.
“We just want to say that we are safe and secure here,” said Pinholster. “There is no reason to believe that there are more threats.”
In a statement released Thursday by Embry-Riddle Aviation University, university officials said they were working closely with Daytona Beach police.
According to the statement, the university immediately notified the entire community of police activities and did not require a blockade.
“Students have been trespassed, suspended and unable to return to our campus,” a university statement said.
Campus officials said they did not allow reporters to be on campus without escorts, and the news journal’s request to visit the campus with escorts was rejected.
Police are still trying to understand what motivation Huggins had for his planned shooting, but Young was in academic probation that Huggins had his average score below the 2.0 average. I said that.
A news release from Daytona Beach police said, “I learned that Huggins was at risk of failing classes at ERAU and was quoted for a traffic violation while on campus yesterday (Wednesday).”
Embry Riddle President P. Barry Butler issued a statement to campus faculty and students, praising the students and police.
“Today was a tough day, but for the time being, let’s focus on what went well,” Butler wrote.
“I would like to personally commend Embry Riddle’s campus safety team for immediately alerting the Daytona Beach Police (DBPD) of the anonymous information received by the students, which ultimately led to their arrest today,” Butler continued. rice field. “I would also like to commend the students who submitted the tips. Their actions were a good example of our safety culture practice.
“We also thank the DBPD officers for their prompt response. The close cooperation with campus safety has helped eliminate the threat, and after DBPD’s involvement, the campus is at risk. I never felt it.
“It was certainly a horrifying event, but our security system works and we are all safe.
“The rules are simple. If you see something, say something.”
This article was originally published in Daytona Beach News-Journal: Police said an armed ERAU student was arrested for a school shooting plan