Cops: High School Custodian Admits Planning Mass Shooting

Khristopher Clay turned himself in at Oregon police station
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2021 4:22 AM CDT
Updated Aug 6, 2021 5:56 AM CDT
Cops: High School Custodian Admits Planning Mass Shooting
Khristopher Clay.   (Medford Police Department)

A high school custodian in Oregon thwarted his own plan to carry out a mass shooting at his workplace and other locations, police say. The Medford Police Department says 24-year-old Khristopher Clay went to a police station on July 20 and confessed that he was having "homicidal thoughts" and had plans to act on them, CNN reports. He was taken to the mental health unit of a local hospital, where he was in protective custody until his arrest Wednesday on charges including attempted second-degree murder. Police say they searched three residences and seized evidence including guns and ammunition, reports KATU. They also seized what police Lt. Mike Budreau described as "journals or manifestos" with plans for a "mass casualty event." Budreau says Clay had set a possible date and things were moving to the point "where the only next step would be a mass shooting event."

Budreau says Clay's list of targets included his workplace, South Medford High School. Police say Clay has no known criminal convictions, but he was banned from owning firearms after a judge determined he was mentally ill in 2019. "Why he turned himself in is the million dollar question. I believe that he did a lot of planning and a lot of sinister thoughts, but he had that moment where he wanted help,” Budreau tells the Daily Beast. "Thank goodness that happened. Had he not turned himself in, I don’t think we would have figured this one out before it happened." KDRV reports that Budreau says police have spoken to people who heard concerning statements from Clay but didn't take them seriously. "Any time you hear talk of mass or school shootings or anything that should be of concern, don't discount it—report it, let us look into it," he says. (Read more Oregon stories.)

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