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John Hagins, Caught With Rifle, Wanted to 'Enact a Columbine' at Florida College: Police

Newsweek logo Newsweek 12/9/2021 Xander Landen
Police in Daytona Beach, Florida said Thursday that they arrested a 19-year-old student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for "plotting to shoot up the campus on the final day at the school before winter break." Above, Daytona Beach Shores Police set up a road block to only let residents in as hurricane Dorian looms in the Atlantic Ocean, on September 3, 2019 in Daytona Beach, Florida. © Mark Wilson Police in Daytona Beach, Florida said Thursday that they arrested a 19-year-old student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for "plotting to shoot up the campus on the final day at the school before winter break." Above, Daytona Beach Shores Police set up a road block to only let residents in as hurricane Dorian looms in the Atlantic Ocean, on September 3, 2019 in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Police in Daytona Beach, Florida said Thursday that they arrested a 19-year-old student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for allegedly "plotting to shoot up the campus on the final day at the school before winter break."

The suspect is 19-year-old John Hagins, who "faces numerous charges," though police say those charges have yet to be determined.

Campus security notified police early Thursday morning after they received a "concerning tip" from students that led to the arrest.

Investigators found social media messages in which Hagins allegedly "laid out his plans to bring a folding gun to the campus tucked inside a backpack along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition."

"We could have had a tragedy unfold today," Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young said in a Thursday statement.

"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. We thank them all for seeing something and saying something," Young stated.

Orlando news station WKMG reported that Hagins was communicating with two other students on Snapchat and allegedly sent messages about wanting to "enact a Columbine," referring to the 1999 mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado.

Police set up a perimeter around Hagins' apartment on Thursday and arrested him, finding a collapsible rifle and several rounds of ammunition in his backpack, according to WKMG. Young said that Hagins allegedly planned to go to a gun range before heading to the university on Thursday.

"This was all a part of the plan because today the campus will be packed because everybody has to be there to take their final exam," Young said, according to the news station.

In their news release on Thursday, Daytona police said investigators are still trying to determine a motive but said they have "learned that Hagins was in danger of failing classes at [Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University] and was also cited for a traffic infraction while on campus yesterday."

The arrest in Florida comes just over a week after a mass shooting at Oxford High School, in Oxford Township, Michigan, that left four students dead and several others injured.

In the wake of the recent shooting, several students around the U.S. have been arrested and accused of making threats against schools, including a 13-year-old in Michigan who was arrested and charged with a felony after allegedly threatening a local middle school.

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