In the latest of a string of thwarted Columbine-style high school bomb plots, 17-year old West Albany High School Student Grant Acord was arrested Sunday and will be charged on multiple counts for attempting to recreate the Columbine massacre at his Oregon high school. Prosecutors say Acord's plot was a "video-game style of killing people," "specifically modeled" after the Columbine shooting, choosing the school because it was a "target-rich environment."
Police received an anonymous tip and intervened "before he could get all the materials he wanted … even more bombs [and] rifles." The tip likely came from another student at the high school, where Acord was recently overheard discussing bombs and bomb-making materials. "It wasn't like 'Oh, I'm making bombs, I'm gonna blow stuff up," a West Albany student said. "It was just talking about it, like something that you wouldn't really think like 'Oh, he's gonna blow something up. Like a school.'"
Although many students have acknowledged that Acord was a somewhat strange kid, there is no evidence that he was mistreated or bullied at school. "I'd say 'hi' to him in the hallway, cause I was kind of ... was like, 'Well, I should probably talk to this kid ... make sure he feels OK,'" West Albany student Dennis Reilly said. "So, I'd talk to him sometimes and he seems like a pretty nice guy." He was also described as "happy" and "nice." The motive, therefore, remains unclear.
Evidence for the charges, which are likely to be possession of a destructive device, manufacture of a destructive device, and aggravated murder, includes the six bombs and bomb making material found in a secret compartment under the floorboard of his room. Evidence also suggests that Acord was modeling his attack on the 1999 Columbine High School massacre.
In many cases violent teens are inspired by the Columbine massacre, during which Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and a teacher. As recently as last year, a civilian tip allowed Roy, Utah, police to stop a plot by two students who planned to detonate bombs during a school assembly. The boys had interviewed the Columbine high school principal only a few weeks earlier. Also last year a Tampa, Fla., teenager was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his plot to kill more than 30 of his schoolmates in what would have been the most serious attack since the Columbine massacre.