Police in the southern Minnesota city of Waseca are confident that a high school massacre was prevented after they arrested a 17-year old suspect, who they said was planning and had the means to murder his family. Authorities believe he was then planning to bomb and kill "as many students as he could."
"This case is a classic example of citizens doing the right thing in calling the police when things seem out of place. By doing the right thing, (an) unimaginable tragedy has been prevented," Capt. Kris Markeson told reporters, according to The Associated Press.
The teen suspect, who wasn't named, was arrested on Tuesday, and charged in juvenile court Thursday with four counts of attempted first-degree murder, six counts of possessing explosive or incendiary devices, and two counts of criminal damage to property.
Police were apparently tipped off by a resident who reported a suspicious person at a self-storage facility. Markeson said that the 11th-grade student is believed to have acted alone, and had been planning to carry out his deadly attack in the next few weeks. The officer noted that the teen had managed to obtain a significant amount of guns and other material that could have been used in a potential attack.
Police also discovered bomb-making materials in a locker, including a pressure cooker, pyrotechnic chemicals, steel ball bearings and gunpowder.
After being taken in for questioning, the teen reportedly admitted that he had planned to kill his mother, father and sister, before starting a fire in rural Waseca to distract first responders. He would then go over to Waseca Junior and Senior High School to set fires, explosives, and shoot as many students as possible.
The teen's mother, who also wasn't named, said that her family is "dealing with a lot of grief," but declined to comment further.
Ryan Lano, who taught the teen guitar lessons for four years, said that he and his sister came for lessons together, but stopped coming four months ago.
"He would almost always come in with his sister who played the drums. They played music together," Lano revealed. "They were very close."
According to a statement of probable cause, the high-schooler is believed to have idolized and studied the shooters of the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado.
There have been a growing number of deadly public shooting incidents in America in the past few years, including the Dec. 14, 2012 shooting massacre in Newtown, Conn. On that day, 20-year-old shooter Adam Lanza killed 26 people in total, including 20 young children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, before taking his own life.
The teen's next court date is scheduled for May 12.