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Florida student arrested for threatening to shoot up campus on Snapchat

A failing Florida college student who recently purchased an automatic rifle was arrested hours after boasting on Snapchat about ‘plotting to shoot up the campus’ on the final day before winter break when two classmates saw his post and reported him to campus security.

John Hagins, 19, a freshman at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, posted a picture to Snapchat of an automatic weapon with a message ‘This looks special’ and wrote that he wanted to ‘enact a Columbine,’ the infamous school shooting in Littleton, Colorado, that killed 13 students in 1999.

The classmates became alarmed and alerted campus security about Hagins at around 4.10a.m. before police were sent to his Daytona Beach apartment, about three miles from the campus.

Hagins had a KelTec SUB2000 foldable automatic weapon and 300 rounds of 9-mm. ammunition inside his backpack when cops busted down his apartment door hours later on Thursday, police said.

‘Today is the last day before winter break. Today is the last day. Today is finals. Final exams. So, this was all part of the plan because today the campus (would) be packed because everybody has to be there to take their final exam, so this was all in his plan,’ said Daytona Beach Police Department Chief Jakari Young.

‘By the Grace of God those two students came forward and thwarted that plan,’ he added.

Daytona Beach Police said it was able to stop John Hagins, 19, from carrying out a mass murder at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University on Thursday after students told campus police

Daytona Beach Police said it was able to stop John Hagins, 19, from carrying out a mass murder at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University on Thursday after students told campus police

Hagins posted a picture to Snapchat of the rifle with a message 'This looks special' on Snapchat and writing that he wanted to 'enact a Columbine'

Hagins posted a picture to Snapchat of the rifle with a message ‘This looks special’ on Snapchat and writing that he wanted to ‘enact a Columbine’  

A KelTec collapsible rifle and bullet-loaded clips were found in Hagins's apartment about three miles from campus, police said

A KelTec collapsible rifle and bullet-loaded clips were found in Hagins’s apartment about three miles from campus, police said

Hagins had arranged to go to Volusia Top Gun, a shooting range, to practice with the gun before making his way to the university, Young said, before ‘plotting to shoot up the campus.’ 

‘We could have had a tragedy unfold today. Instead, these students reported it to the school and that allowed us to get to work right away and bring Hagins into custody before he could carry out his plans,’ Young said. 

Hagins, who graduated from Monsignor Edward Pace High School in Miami Gardens in 2020, recently bought the firearm after selling his vehicle to fund the purchase. 

Upon his arrest at his apartment, Hagins confessed to making the threats but told investigators it was all a joke, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

‘He may want to claim that it was all a joke and he wasn’t serious about it but we don’t find anything funny about discussing a mass shooting on a campus,’ Young said. ‘If he was looking for attention, he’s got it. I don’t think he wanted the kind of attention that he has but he’s got it.’

Hagins has been charged with written threats to injure or kill, attempted first-degree homicide and terrorism, officials said

As of Friday evening, he was being held without bond at the Volusia County jail. 

Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young holding one of the guns belonging to Hagins

The backpack that carried Hagins' firearms and more than 300 rounds of ammunition

Daytona Beach Police said Hagins had planned to go to a shooting range nearby to practice with the gun before making his way to the university. The 19-year-old was questioned and arrested by authorities at his apartment when they found firearms and ammo in his backpack

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University announced that it had suspended and banned Hagins from its Daytona Beach campus following his arrest on Thursday

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University announced that it had suspended and banned Hagins from its Daytona Beach campus following his arrest on Thursday

Detectives were still determining a motive but said Hagins was on academic probation and had been cited for a traffic infraction the previous day. 

Hagins was majoring in aeronautical science, according to the university. Since 2020, he was certified to fly single-engine aircraft FAA records show. 

The university added in an announcement that Haggins had been suspended and banned from campus. 

In a letter to students, Embry-Riddle University President P. Barry Butler wrote, ‘Law enforcement officers, Campus Safety and our students did an exceptional job today and helped keep our community safe, and we are in their debt.’ 

‘It was an admittedly frightening event, but our security systems worked and we are all safe. There is no reason to believe that there is any additional threat to the campus community at this time.’ 

The shocking plot comes after a mass shooting in Michigan on Nov. 30 left four students at the Oxford High School in suburban Detroit dead.



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