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UPDATED: Puyallup police arrest junior high student in ‘Columbine’-like plot

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on Nov. 18, 2011 at 8:24 am with 30 Comments »
November 18, 2011 2:21 pm

UPDATED at 2:20 p.m.

Puyallup police arrested one student and interviewed seven others Thursday after learning of a plot to shoot up Aylen Junior High School.

The 14-year-old boy was booked into Remann Hall juvenile jail late Thursday on suspicion of conspiracy to commit first-degree assault.

He made a brief court appearance Friday afternoon but was not charged. The boy was ordered held in jail until his arraignment Tuesday afternoon.

The boy’s parents asked that he be allowed to go home but the state argued otherwise.

“After Columbine the world changed and none of us has a crystal ball,” deputy prosecutor Fred Wist said after the hearing.

Meanwhile, Puyallup police have stepped up their presence around Aylen, 101 15th St. S.W., today.

Investigators believe the teen threatened violence at the school and was recruiting classmates to help with his plan, Puyallup police Capt. Scott Engle said. He had contacted six boys and a girl.

The boy did not have access to guns and hadn’t made a list of potential targets. He also hadn’t picked a specific date to carry out the plan, Engle said.

“We feel confident that the early intervention in this case has provided a safe and successful conclusion,” Engle said.

Investigators were looking into what may have motivated the boy.

“Hopefully, we will have some good, solid answers to that in the coming days,” Engle said. “We need to get to the bottom of why.”

The plan came to light Thursday afternoon when one of the teen’s classmates talked to a campus safety officer.

The boy reported that he’d been approached by the 14-year-old on Wednesday afternoon and asked if he wanted to take part in a Columbine-style attack, Engle said.

The Puyallup Police Department’s school liaison officer was contacted. The officer then notified detectives.

Investigators learned the 14-year-old boy had not been at school Thursday and contacted him and his family at their Puyallup home.

“After determining that the suspect had contacted numerous other students in a recruiting effort to join in on the ‘Columbine’ plan, the suspect was taken into custody and potential evidence was seized,” Puyallup police reported.

Detectives also took evidence from the house that will be processed as part of the investigation.

Investigators interviewed the boy and the seven other students he reportedly approached with his plan. Engle said all were cooperating.

No other arrests have been made so far. However, Engle noted that investigators consider two other students suspects and have forwarded their investigation to Pierce County prosecutors for review.

The Puyallup School District was following up with administrative action.

Engle reminded students that if they hear something or see something amiss, they should report it.

Leave a comment Comments → 30
  1. fivecardstud says:

    What are they teaching these kids now days. In my time and before that wasn’t heard of so maybe the newer curriculum isn’t as good as it was.

  2. Our country has changed. Physically it’s still the same place, but the average American does not have the same values and morals they did 50 years ago. This is reflected in every facet of life, including the behavior and thought processes of 14 year old kids.

    I haven’t watched TV since the late 70s, I came home on leave from an assignment in Europe in 1987 and spent time with my parents. I could not believe the change in what was on TV in 87 verses 77. It’s far worse now than 87.

    We are a nation in decline, the rule of law means very little to our citizens – rich or poor. Our leaders have failed to lead us to strive for character beyond what is “legal”. Our average person does not look inside themselves for their behavior, they rely on what their fellow citizens “get away with”.

    The economic slap down we are going to get at the hands of hyperinflation may help to clarify values, morals and acceptable behavior for us as we pay the price for the last 50 years of excess. If not, we will see very,very bad times, beyond just fiscal issues. The total undoing of a Republic.

  3. gonesailin06 says:

    Fivecard- Although you would like to blame teachers (and your an idiot) It is up to the parents to teach their children morals and values. Violence is not tolerated in schools for as long as i can remember and such violence is dealt with properly. Now it is up to the parents to determin a correct punishment.

  4. mojjonation says:

    Parents stopped being parents and started being friends when the soccer nazis took over the schools. The whole “everyone deserves a chance” mantra has taken over. The No Child Left Behind act has morphed into No Child is Allowed to Excel. Dumb down the curriculum instead of raising the childs intelligence level to make numbers look good. The world needs ditch diggers, but no parents wants to admit that it will be their kid holding the shovel because they can’t do something as simple as balance a check book without the help of Quicken.

    20-25 years ago, there were groups of kids who were smart, jocks, and stoners. But because this has become a nation of handouts, and everyone thinks they deserve everything the next guy gets, no one is allowed to set themselves apart because it may hurt someones feelings. When kids get their feelings hurt, they get stupid. Instead of trying to figure out why, they get jealous. They become dumber than they already are.

    Thanks to the kid glove approach this state has when it comes to dealing with juveniles, and the thought that all anyone needs is a hug and it will al go away, nothing will ever improve from an education standpoint until the kids are disciplined. The teachers, parents, and administrators, have no control over the schools anymore. Sure they talk to a kid when he points a finger like a gun at another kid, but there is nothing of substance that can be done for fear of a lawsuit. Until the trouble children are reigned in and dealt with properly (Im not talking about the death penalty), and parents take responsibility for those kids (fat chance on that), then we will continue down this educational death spiral and continue to be the laughing stock of all developed nations.

    Yes it would be nice to know why this teen wanted to do the things he wanted to do. But at some point, a line has to be drawn and someone be made an example. Until that time comes, these “Columbine” type ideas will occur.

  5. BlaineCGarver says:

    gonesailin06, an absence of violence is not peace. Parents, or more likely A parent holds no sway when every message kids see is neatly wrapped up in a nice bundle of valueless, amoral, violent, Godless, commercial DooDoo. It’s not PC to say so, but there is a huge difference in Cultures around the world, and America has ceded to some of the worst, allowing them, in the name of acceptance and tolerance, to push traditional religion-based values aside. This kid was arrested for talking about violence, but music and media blast our kids with the same via Rap, some TV, etc.

  6. itwasntmethistime says:

    Any bets on how quickly we will get to see the interviews saying what a wonderful kid this is?

  7. NickDixon says:

    Want to bet that something about bullying will come out?

    On the other side, our society teaches kids to take revenge.

    We reap what we sow.

  8. rocketman says:

    Oh dear someone give him a hug,cant be his fault,Maybe he didn’t get the new xbox for his birthday and other kids did.

  9. redneckbuck says:

    Kids make mistakes. Bad parenting skills often lead to these situations. Good parenting skills can get you there too. Kids make mistakes. Parents, teachers, Pastors all need to have deeper relationships with teens these days.

  10. ctdrules says:

    Welcome to the world of a liberal mindset. The educational system in America, at all levels, is broken beyond repair. When 50% of the populous receive some sort of federal assistance what can you expect from their kids. Just hope they don’t say anything to hurt the student’s feelings, I’m sure the parents have an attorney ready to sue the school district.

  11. NickDixon says:

    use of weapons is a “liberal mindset”


  12. NickDixon says:

    “When 50% of the populous receive some sort of federal assistance what can you expect from their kids.”

    If our country is in this bad of shape, what is the Republican House of Representatives doing about it? Oh yeah, making sure that “In God We Trust” is a motto.

    It appears a middle schooler doesn’t trust in God very much. Back to the drawing board, Congress.

  13. David1964 says:

    Valleytarts, if there was a problem person at Aylen, it was years ago. This is a 14 year old who was probably in kindergarten at the time. The school did nothing wrong here, it was a student who planned to do something wrong. Curious to know why the kid wanted to shoot up the school, but it’s probably the same thing that could happen at any school: the kid was mad at other students or a staff member for some reason (bullying, losing face, getting a bad grade, etc)

  14. artiepuy says:

    “When 50% of the populous receive some sort of federal assistance what can you expect from their kids.”

    Please provide some sort of proof for this assertion.

  15. blondie1970 says:

    Gonesailin06 It is you’re or you are not your. Where did you get your education?
    ValleyTarts-Aylen is not a bad school. It is a very good school. You can not assume it is a bad school because of a few kids. The great majority of the staff & students are good people and do the right thing. So sad about what has happened to our world. So much violence and greed. All of the violent video games, music, and no reguard for human life. Parents need to be parents and teaching morals & values start at home.
    Positive changes have happened since Columbine. Rachaels challenge and The challenge day program. More anti-bullying programs. We need more love and acceptance instead of hate, greed and violence.

  16. Since when does receiving federal assistance lead to problamatic children? The government has made it so parents cannot punish their children for bad behavior. Children are, for the most part, spoiled. If a child feels he has no recourse but to inact such violence on his school, classmates, teachers and friends, something is terribly wrong. If it is bullying then it should not be tolerated. If it is a means to get attention, then he needs to learn there are better ways but, apparently, it worked.

  17. Not in Puyallup!

  18. baseballmom says:

    sooo tired of people blaming the schools. they do what they can with kids whose parents have let them run amok. some kids feel entitled, and some feel that the way to solve their problems is to kill someone. it’s pathetic that people really still think that giving a kid a million chances to be respectful and do their job in school is going to help. when i was a kid, principals had paddles, and we didn’t have nearly the disrespect and ridiculousness that we do now. you are at school to LEARN, not to be liked, or be popular, or have a good time. i always tell my kids the best revenge on those who doubt you is to be a SUCCESS. the attitude that everyone just needs ‘love and acceptance’ is what’s enabling kids to fail. when they have the amount of behavior problems and distractions in class that they do nowadays (take it from someone who is in a school classroom daily) they have a minimal chance of learning, unless they are very determined. so sad.

  19. Puyallupgirl says:

    Let me start off by saying this is horrible. I know a lot of comments are referring to kids being spoiled, that they are. However; nobody knows what was going on with this boy. He could have been being bullied and 14 year old boys sometimes don’t want to show weakness and tell someone they are scared. He could also be in a home where his parents are molesting him or they are doing drugs or beating him. I am not excusing this AT ALL.

  20. Instead of pure speculation about what prompted this kid to do something as stupid as he did, why don’t we all just keep our uninformed opinions to ourselves and wait to see what the real investigators find out?

    All you people who blame this on the teachers, the parents, the government, really don’t know Jack, do you?

  21. Everyone seems to be forgetting the student who stood up and did the right thing by telling the authorities. That student should be commended for doing the right thing and his/her parents should feel very proud.

  22. On the bright side though, a kid spoke out and revealed what was ongoing that prompted police action and a potential disaster was avoided. So much good came forth at a time of pending doom so let’s be thankful for that and wait to see what surfaces as the cause/effect for the suspect’s intended action.

  23. This nonsense about ‘50% of american public receives benefits without paying taxes’ is false. Or, if you want to be charitable, cherry-picking the data. It ignores the Social Security payroll tax, which is by itself nearly as much as what multi-millionaire hedge fund partners pay on their earnings (15%, thanks to a special loophole that Congress refuses to eliminate), it ignores state and local taxes which also hit the poor and middle class more heavily than the rich (especially sales and property taxes).

    Furthermore, to get the percentage receiving benefits close to 50% one needs to count the people receiving Medicare and/or Social Security. Are we now implying that someone who worked 30+ years and then retired is a freeloader?

  24. I am lucky to teach here. It could happen anywhere. I can say that after 16 years at my school, I find that if I treat a student with respect and act honorably, I have no problems. Working in a privileged community, it is obvious that if a child, rich or poor or in-between, has a problem, it starts at home.

  25. artiepuy says:

    ctdrules – Any sources besides a posting by a conservative commentator on his own web site? I could post anything I wanted on such a site, especially if I don’t actually have to cite any source for the percentages I use. (Which Pat Dollard doesn’t do)

    I also notice that his listed percentages include everyone on social security and Medicare. I realize that there are plenty of people who have decided that anyone who gets any kind of money from the government (even their own money) doesn’t deserve it. I don’t happen to be one of them.

    Finally… imagine that. Many people with no job, and therefore no income, often don’t have to pay income tax. How shocking it is that those freeloaders aren’t paying taxes on the income that they are not getting.

  26. MeghanApril says:

    Excuse me fivecardstud, I’m a student at Aylen Junior High and there is no way that the newer curriculum isn’t as good as it was. When you say, “What are they teaching now a days.” You certainly shouldn’t be blaming the teachers. That have nothing to do with this. You have no idea whatsoever of what it was about and I’m pretty sure no one really does besides the police and the detectives. I love all my teachers and the ones at my school, it’s an amazing school and before you go and play the blame game, actually have some supporting facts to help your statement/opinion. By the way, I leanered that I need supporting facts to back up a statement, thanks to my English teachers from last year and this year. Have a nice day.

  27. question i have is what do you do with this kid, i mean he really didnt do anything but talk about it. how do you figure out if it was real or just talk, do you lock him up, therapy what?? all you people with opinions, what if he was your kid and it could easily be, then would you have all these great ideas, i wonder!

  28. Smoke_42 says:

    Parents are the ones to blame,along with the Justice system! Instead of Whoppin that ass when the youngin is bad,like my daddy did to me,the parents try to talk about it,or try put the blame on someone elce!Or now youngins can scream abuse if you touchem,Horse Crap!!! The goverment needs to mind they bussiness,unless you abuse,truely abuse the child,if not,Child messes up,sassas back,fights with mom,dad teacher,whatever,Whoop the Ass,I know you did,and i bet you all are good people! I got mine Whooped alot but im a retired Military man with 25 years,and im thankful for the discipline my daddy gave me

  29. No weapons, no target, no list, no motive because there was no plan. Kids need to be careful of what they text even if only joking or taking a poll to see what others would say. Some times things can get very twisted in the way others may interpret something.

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