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Students Report Freshman Who Was Planning a Shooting: Police

He reportedly intended a campus attack by Christmas
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 29, 2019 2:16 PM CDT
Updated Aug 29, 2019 4:16 PM CDT
Paul Steber, 19, has been charged after students reported he had guns in his dorm room.   (High Point Police Department via AP)

(Newser) – College students in North Carolina heeded the "see something, say something" plea this week, and their decision might have averted a mass shooting. Paul Steber's classmates at High Point University reported that he had guns in his dorm room. Campus security searched it, finding a 9mm semiautomatic pistol, a double-barrel 12-gauge shotgun, and ammunition, the Washington Post reports. Police said he planned to use them. Steber, 19, of Boston, was charged with two felony counts of having a gun on campus and one count for making threats of mass violence, per ABC. He was ordered held without bond until a mental health evaluation can be completed.

Steber had been planning violence since last December, prosecutors said, adding that he chose the school because it's easier to get guns in North Carolina than in Massachusetts. He had studied past shootings, watching videos of them, and planned to carry out his own by this Christmas, the judge was told in a hearing Wednesday. Steber's father drove from Massachusetts in time to attend the hearing for his son, who appears to have no criminal history, per the AP. One plan depended on whether Steber and his roommate got into a fraternity. If the roommate was accepted and Steber was not, police said, he intended to kill his roommate and himself. The town's police chief praised the students who reported Steber. "This is an example of how it was done right, where somebody saw a concern and reported it to authorities," he said. "We were able to act before anything could happen." (Read more campus shooting stories.)

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