Paw Paw, MI – A 15-year-old Michigan student modified firearms and created explosives as part of a plot to attack his school, the boy told his parents.
"He came to us and said that he’s been really upset and said that he’s been planning to do something bad," the boy's stepfather told WOOD. "It was a big shock."
The boy went to his parents on Sunday, and was clearly distraught. He told them he had modified firearms that he stole from his grandfather so that he could conceal them in a bag.
The teen’s parents took him to the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office (VBCSO), and he told investigators about his plot as a search warrant was being conducted at the family’s residence, WXMI reported.
"He wanted to go. He knew that he needed help," the boy’s stepfather told WOOD. "He walked right into the lobby and was like, ‘This is what I’ve been planning on doing.' He said, 'This is where you can find everything.'"
The unnamed teen said that the students he planned to target had been bullying him since he transferred to Paw Paw High School in 2017.
His tormenters had “shoved him into lockers, punched him in the throat, [and] knocked him down with no remorse,” his stepfather explained.
The harassment and physical assaults amped up after a photo of the student in his underwear somehow began circulating among his peers during the summer of 2017.
"Since that point, it's just been relentless," the teen’s stepfather said.
“We had information come into our office yesterday evening about a kid that was possibly going to carry out some terrorist threats at Paw Paw High School today,” Van Buren County Sheriff Dan Abbott told WXMI on Monday. “Once at the residence they did recover two stolen firearms which had been sawed down that was going to be used with multiple rounds.”
Investigators also found Molotov cocktails and materials to build pipe bombs at the home, the sheriff said, according to WOOD.
The teenager had experimented with explosives and fuses, and had compiled a hit list, one officer testified during the boy’s Monday arraignment in South Haven.
"He wanted to blow the school up on top of him," the boy's stepfather said. "I was in shock. I just couldn’t believe it ... We couldn't think at that point. How'd this even get to this point?"
The teen even devised a plan to keep his siblings home, so that they wouldn’t be harmed during the attack, police said.
"There's no question in my mind there was going to be a terrorist act today,” Sheriff Abbott told WOOD. “The guns were going to go inside a school along with the bombs.”
“There was 100 percent intent on murders happening,” he said. “If it wasn’t for the family, something horrific probably would’ve happened today.”
“These parents did a good job, and I hope the public sees that,” Sheriff Abbot added.
Investigators said that the boy was acting alone, and classes were cancelled at Paw Paw High School on Monday while police verified that the school was safe, WXMI reported.
Classes resumed on Tuesday.
The teen was charged with two felony counts of larceny of firearms, two felony counts of possession of a short-barreled shotgun or rifle, two felony counts of felony firearm, attempted manufacture of explosives, and a misdemeanor count of possession of a Molotov cocktail explosive device.
Sheriff Abbott said that the boy would “be getting the help he needs.”
"He asked for help. He's been asking for help," his stepfather said. "I'm really worried that he might be made an example of."
The teen was being held at the Allegan County Juvenile Center.
Prosecutors planned to try him as an adult, and a hearing on the matter was scheduled for March 29, according to WOOD.