by Lisa Fogarty
If not for one of John David LaDue's vigilant neighbors, the world might have been two weeks away from hearing about another horrific Columbine-like attack. The 17-year-old from Minnesota had concocted an elaborate and terrifying plot to shoot his entire family dead, blow up his school, and kill as many students as he could, before being killed by police. The amount of preparation the teen put into his scheme will astound you. And, if not for one witness, police believe John -- who reportedly admired the Columbine killers -- would have had no trouble carrying out his deadly plan.
John allegedly stored explosive devices both in his home and in a rented storage locker. When police arrested him, they found three bombs that were ready to go off whenever the teen set them, firearms, ammunition, bomb-making materials, and gunpowder.
This is the nightmarish plan he'd been preparing for months: First he would gun down his mother, father, and sister. He would then do something to keep first responders occupied while he took off for school to carry out the next part of his scheme: to set off pressure-cooker bombs that contained nails and metal ball bearings in the cafeteria during lunchtime. He chose this setting and time because he figured it would be ideal for killing as many students as possible. Anyone who escaped would be shot dead in the hallways and he'd continue killing until he was killed by a SWAT team.
The teen actually held killing "rehearsals" where he set off practice bombs in neighborhood playgrounds, police say. How on Earth was he able to get away with doing this without people seeing and reporting it?! So scary.
The good news -- the only good news -- is that Chelsie Schellhas had the sense to call cops after she witnessed a suspicious-looking John wearing a backpack and opening a storage unit at night. She observed the scene from her kitchen window while washing dishes. I can't even imagine the gratitude an entire town of parents feels knowing this person is to thank for possibly keeping their child alive.
One school official says John was a quiet student who didn't cause trouble. There's no indication that he was bullied and he reportedly planned to carry this out all by himself.
The teen is in police custody and has been charged with 10 attempted murder and explosive counts.
This video contains more information and reactions from stunned neighbors:
Why do you think this teen planned to murder his parents and blow up his school?
Should he be tried as a juvenile or adult?