In the wake of the shocking elementary school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, parents and school officials in Oklahoma and around the nation are on edge, taking every precaution against school violence. Oklahoma is not immune to the threat of violence in schools; the same morning of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, a student at Bartlesville High School was arrested after police investigated reports that the teen was planning a massacre at the school.
Since then, Bartlesville High School received a second "credible threat," prompting closure of all Bartlesville schools until after the holiday break. Schools were cancelled after a Bartlesville resident reported seeing two men near the high school, one of whom was reportedly carrying a gun.
Other incidents that have occurred in Oklahoma since the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary include the arrest of a student for bringing weapons to school and the arrest of a student who made threats against his school:
- Fourteen-year-old Ryan Young was arrested at East Highland Junior High in Moore after police found an Airsoft gun and four large knives in his locker. The Airsoft gun is a replica that shoots plastic pellets, but the knives were so large that they are considered illegal. Young was arrested on a felony complaint of possessing a prohibited weapon. Police say that the teen had not made any threats against the school.
- A Guthrie High School student whose name was not released was arrested on a felony complaint of making a terrorist hoax. Students notified school officials that the suspect was making threats against the school, and an investigation is ongoing.
In the first instance at Bartlesville High School, students notified authorities last week that Sammie Eaglebear Chavez, 18, was trying to recruit students to help him carry out a school shooting and bombing. It is reported that Chavez had been researching the Columbine killings and had used a school computer to research a semiautomatic Marlin rifle.
Items allegedly seized during a search of Chavez's home include handwritten notes, photographs of students, drugs, two swords, a set of brass knuckles, and a sawed-off Marlin rifle fitted with a pistol grip.
According to a police affidavit, 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. He also told them he would place bombs by the doors so when the police arrived he would detonate the bombs, killing police as they entered the building." Allegedly, he threatened to kill students who would not assist him in his plan.
Chavez was arrested at 4:50 a.m. on Friday, December 14, just hours before the second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. He has been charged in Washington County District Court with conspiring to inflict serious bodily harm or death.
Though Oklahoma recently enacted its open-carry gun laws, possessing a firearm on school property is still prohibited. For more information about gun laws and violent crime defense in Oklahoma, please visit our violent crime lawyer page at oklahoma-criminal-defense.com/oklahoma-violent-crimes-attorney.php.