Skip to main content

Student's school shooting plot foiled, police say

  • Story Highlights
  • Police: Male, 17, from Belvidere, New Jersey, taken into custody for plot
  • Students told school administrators teen had "hit list;" teen denies allegation
  • Chief: Teen said he wanted to serve in Iraq and said "I love combat and I love to kill"
  • Official: Plot had progressed to point where student surveyed school security
  • Next Article in Crime »
From Laura Batchelor
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

NEW YORK (CNN) -- An alleged plot hatched by a high school student to murder his classmates and teachers in New Jersey was foiled early this week, police told CNN Thursday.


A 17-year-old New Jersey student is in police custody for allegedly plotting to murder his classmates and teachers.

A 17-year-old male from Belvidere, New Jersey, near the Pennsylvania state line, was taken into custody Monday after school administrators heard about the plan from worried students and contacted local police Sunday.

The student told classmates about a hit list he had, said Belvidere Police Chief Kent Sweigert, but in interviews with authorities the teen denied the allegation.

The Belvidere High School student also told authorities he wanted to serve in the U.S. military in Iraq, the police chief said.

"'I love combat and I love to kill,'" Sweigert quoted the young man as saying.

The student is currently undergoing a psychiatric evaluation, the police chief said.

According to New Jersey State Police Lt. Gerald Lewis, the plot had developed to the point that the student had begun surveying school security and mapping routes to escape after the attack.

Sweigert said the school psychologist reported the student had behavioral problems and had recently undergone a sudden change in behavior, changing his plans to attend a community college and wearing military-style fatigues with a short haircut.

He also began carrying books about the military and had recently contacted the National Guard, Sweigert said.

A National Guardsman who the student had been spending time with on the weekends, 22-year-old James Schipps, is in custody in connection with the case and faces charges on three counts including "making terroristic threats" and "hindering apprehension," Lewis told CNN.

Authorities confiscated the student's notebooks and magazines, and found "something serious" in the contents, Sweigert said without providing details. However, he added, what the student had written is not illegal.

"As far as I'm concerned he's still a major threat," the police chief said.

The young man's father voluntarily turned over to police several legally registered weapons in the family's home, Sweigert said, and allowed police to take the 17-year-old out of school because of concern he could be a risk to himself and others.

The New Jersey state police, FBI and the joint Terrorism Task Force are also participating in the investigation, authorities said. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Nkechi Nneji contributed to this report

All About School Shootings

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print