Police Find Guns In Home Of Bartlesville Teen Charged With Threatening School
BARTLESVILLE, Oklahoma - A Bartlesville teenager remains in jail after being charged with planning to shoot students and plant bombs at the high school last week.
The flags at Bartlesville High School and the Bartlesville Police Department are flying at half-staff in honor of the elementary school shooting victims in Connecticut.
That tragedy came less than four hours after police in Bartlesville arrested 18-year-old Sammie Chavez, who is accused of planning a similar shooting spree.
"We think we stopped something very serious here, that's our opinion," said Bartlesville Police Chief Tom Holland.
Investigators say Chavez told students at the high school on Wednesday that he planned to lure students into the school's auditorium and then open fire.
According to court records, he also planned to place bombs near the auditorium's entrance so they would go off as police tried to enter.
The plot was foiled when those students told an assistant principal who then told police.
"I'm glad our students spoke to our assistant principal. I'm glad our assistant principal took it seriously," said Superintendent Gary Quinn.
Quinn said this case is a textbook example of how to handle threats of school violence. He said the district has worked very hard to build an environment of trust between students and the administration.
"One of them made the comment to the assistant principal that 'I trust you' and, to me, that's one of the most important things; if you trust your teachers and your principals and your assistant principals that they're going to take the information and do the right things with it," Quinn said.
Keep in mind, the incident there happened on Thursday, the day before the shooting in Connecticut. So that situation there was not on the mind of students, school officials, or law enforcement in Bartlesville, as they were acting.
Investigators say weapons were found at Chavez's home and he had specifically searched online for a Marlin Model 99 M1 .22 caliber rifle.
One student told police they saw Chavez look up how to build pipe bombs.
Investigators say the credit for averting tragedy should go to the brave students who came forward.
"Thank goodness people were willing to talk and turn this thing in to us," Holland said.
Bond for Chavez has been set at $1 million. He's scheduled to be in court in mid-January.