OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A small-caliber rifle and notes about a possible attack on a northeast Oklahoma high school were found at the home of a teenager accused of plotting to shoot classmates and detonate bombs, police said Monday.
Sammie Eaglebear Chavez, 18, lived at home with his mother in Bartlesville, about 50 miles north of Tulsa. He was arrested early Friday morning and has been charged with a felony count of planning to perform an act of violence.
Investigators still are sifting through possible evidence recovered during Friday’s search to determine how serious the threat was, said Bartlesville Police Capt. Jay Hastings.
“Part of the factor is whether the person is capable of carrying out the threat. Do they have weapons? In this case, it’s just something he’s communicated, but then he’s also … written some notes about it, so that makes it a little more serious,” Hastings said. He didn’t elaborate on what the notes said or who owned the rifle.
In a separate incident, a Guthrie High School student was questioned and suspended Monday, but not arrested, following a reported threat to a school assembly that the student made last week.
“It was a large-scale threat,” said Guthrie Police Chief Damon Devereaux, who declined to identify the student, who is a minor.
“In light of what happened in Connecticut and the Bartlesville deal, we cannot take anything too lightly,” Devereaux said, referring to Newtown, Conn., where a gunman shot and killed 20 children and six adults at an elementary school Friday.
In the Bartlesville case, Chavez remained jailed Monday on $1 million bail. Court records do not list an attorney for Chavez, and calls to a number for Chavez listed in court documents went to a recorded message saying the line wasn’t available. A court hearing is scheduled for Jan. 11.
An assistant principal at Bartlesville High School notified police Thursday after a student said Chavez “tried to recruit other students to assist him with carrying out a plan to lure students into the school auditorium where he planned to begin shooting them after chaining the doors shut,” Bartlesville Police Lt. Kevin Ickleberry wrote in an affidavit.
“He also told them that he would place bombs by the doors so when the police arrived he would detonate the bombs, killing police as they entered the building,” Ickleberry wrote.
Chavez also tried to obtain a map of the school campus and had recently searched a school computer for a machine-gun platform for a .22-caliber rifle, according to the affidavit.
A Bartlesville school district spokesman said there was increased police presence at school sites Monday and that counselors were made available to speak to students who may have had concerns.
“In our high school today, the principal and assistant principals went into classes to speak to students, to answer any questions they had and just try to make them feel at ease,” said district spokesman Chris Tanea.
Some Oklahoma lawmakers, reacting to the Connecticut shooting, called Monday for allowing teachers and school administrators to carry firearms on school campuses.
Rep. Mark McCullough, R-Sapulpa, said he is working on a bill that would allow teachers and school administrators to receive firearms training through the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training, which would authorize them to carry weapons at school and at school events.
“It scares me that a madman could come into my children’s school and kill my children,” said McCullough, who has two boys, ages 7 and 9. “We need to harden these targets, harden these facilities with simple, common-sense steps.
“It’s not rocket science. It’s just overcoming what might be traditional, emotional, reactive feelings toward guns in schools.”
Associated Press writer Ken Miller contributed to this report from Oklahoma City.
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