Grandma Turns in Grandson After Discovering Chilling School Shooting Journal Entries

NBC News

In the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting in Florida on February 14, many have raised concerns about "warning signs" that may have been missed and those who may have failed to speak up about them. But the day before that Valentine's Day tragedy, a grandma in Washington saw something and did immediately say something. Her action foiled her grandson's plot to carry out his own school shooting by turning him into the police and now she's being called a hero.   


According to ABC News, the grandma, Catherine O'Connor, called 911 on Tuesday, only one day before the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. During the call, the woman shared that she believed her grandson, Joshua O'Connor, was very close to carrying out his own shooting. "What I'm reporting is I'm finding journal entries from my grandson," she said. "And he’s planning on having a mass shooting at one of the high schools."

More from CafeMom: In Every Parent's Nightmare, Florida Shooter Tried to Exploit School Lockdown Drill to Kill More Kids

Police have shared that Joshua is 18 years old and was a student at ACES Alternative High School in Everett, Washington. KOMO reports that when officers arrived at her home that evening, O'Connor showed them the frightening journal entries she'd found on Monday. She also told police that her grandson had a semi-automatic rifle stored in a guitar case in her home and had recently purchased replica grenades. All of these items, along with the journal, were later seized by detectives.  

Court records obtained by KOMO detail the plans outlined Joshua's journal entries. "I'm preparing myself for the school shooting. I can't wait. My aim has gotten much more accurate. ... I can't wait to walk into that class and blow all those [expletive] away," read one excerpt. 


The disturbing journal entry continued with the teenager describing how he'd prepared to carry out the shooting. "I need to make this shooting/bombing ... infamous. I need to get the biggest fatality number I possibly can. I need to make this count. ... I'm learning from past shooters/bombers mistakes, so I don't make the same ones." Another entry shared his desire to make pressure cooker bombs and named the locations around his school where he wanted to plant them. 

Court documents revealed that the 18-year-old "flipped a coin" to determine which local school to target. His own school, ACES Alternative High School, won out in the end. On Wednesday, the same day as the Florida shooting, police officials contacted the school to warn them of the potential threat and arrested the teenager on the premises. While searching him, officers uncovered marijuana and a knife on his person. While being arrested, Joshua managed to escape his handcuffs, but officers were easily able to subdue him again, though not before he gave one of them a "mule-kick" in the thigh and torso.

Aaron Snell, public information officer for the Everett Police Department, told KOMO that police aren't sure if the teen was actually committed to carrying out his plans. "We don't know what the end result may have been or may not have been, but I think that the steps that were taken were the appropriate steps." 


Joshua O'Connor is currently being held on a $5 million bond at the Snohomish County Jail, where he was booked for investigation of attempted murder in his mass shooting plot and third-degree assault for kicking a police officer. O'Connor's neighbors revealed that they were surprised to hear the news of her grandson, saying they rarely saw or interacted with the teenager. "I hope he's getting help also, mentally and emotionally," Christian Vazquez told KOMO. 

More from CafeMom: Disturbing Texts & Videos by Students Show the True Horror of the Florida School Shooting

Others have expressed thankfulness for her decision to turn in her grandson. "There's a lot of kids who could have lost their lives," Julie Primachik told KOMO. "I think it's a hero-like thing to do."

The Mulkiteo School District expressed similar gratitude. In a statement to KOMO news, they said that "her actions may have saved many lives." They also stressed the importance of others coming forward with troubling information they may have. "If you see or hear of something suspicious, you need to notify authorities," the statement read. 

Read More >