Oklahoma teen found guilty in school shooting plot
The Associated Press
BARTLESVILLE, Okla. A teenager who authorities say tried to recruit classmates for a mass shooting and bomb attack at his northeastern Oklahoma high school has been convicted in a plot to kill students, teachers and police officers.
A jury in Bartlesville found 19-year-old Sammie Eaglebear Chavez guilty of planning to cause bodily harm and recommended a 30-month prison term and $5,000 fine. The jury found him not guilty of conspiring to perform an act of violence.
Chavez had pleaded not guilty and testified in his own defense that he was joking when he told classmates about how a shooting and bomb attack could be carried out at Bartlesville High School.
"It was a joke in the sense that it wasn't meant seriously," Chavez told jurors, the Tulsa World newspaper reported. Bartlesville is 45 miles north of Tulsa.
Police and prosecutors said Chavez intended to lure students into the school's auditorium, chain the doors shut and shoot the students. Chavez also planned to place bombs by the auditorium doors and detonate them as police officers approached, according to an affidavit.
Chavez was arrested in December, hours before a gunman opened fire at a Connecticut elementary school and killed 20 children and six adults before killing himself.
Bartlesville police officer Jacob Moran testified that after arresting Chavez he found notes in the teen's pockets saying that "those who deserve to die will be killed," and that those who survive "will be forced to witness it," according to the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise.
Chavez testified that he had no intention to shoot or bomb the school, but admitted he was "angry at the world," and that writing the notes was a way for him "to release feelings of anger."
Prosecutors said Chavez tried to obtain a map of the school campus and had recently used a school computer to get information about a platform to support a .22-caliber rifle.
A student informed school officials about the plot — police said Chavez tried to recruit classmates — and the school officials called police. No one was injured.
Phone messages seeking comment from prosecutors and Chavez' defense attorney were not immediately returned late Tuesday afternoon.
Chavez' mother has said her son sent her a text message two days before his arrest saying that he wanted to "shoot up" the high school because he thought some students were talking about him behind his back. But she also said she didn't think her son would have carried out the attack.
"Deep down, I don't think my son would have done this," Jessie Chavez said shortly after her son was arrested. "That's not my son. My son laughs and makes jokes. He's always pulling pranks."
Chavez also said her son showed symptoms of possible mental illness and had been seeing a therapist, but the court found him competent to stand trial following a mental competency exam.
Boston Police boss Davis: Use crime-fighting community policing strategies against terrorism
by STEVE LeBLANC
LOWELL, Massachusetts — A key to preventing future attacks like the Boston Marathon bombing is to bring the crime-fighting strategies of community policing to the battle against terrorism, Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said Tuesday.
Davis said there are almost always some warning signs that could alert investigators of an individual planning an attack.
He said it's critical to work with communities so people who might spot those warning signs feel comfortable giving that information to police, a tactic that he said has worked in the fight against crime in Boston.
Davis said simply increasing the police presence at major public events isn't the answer, noting that there aren't enough police officers in the entire state to line both sides of the marathon for all 26 miles of the race.
Instead, he said, reaching out to individual communities and members of the public is a smarter approach.
Davis said those engaging in criminal activity and those engaging in terrorist acts both cause problems for the larger community, even though they make up a tiny portion of its population.
"There is not magic bullet to deal with terrorism," Davis said. "I sincerely believe that the answer to this lies in community policing."
New Boston FBI head Vincent Lisi, who also spoke with Davis at the opening of the University of Massachusetts' new Center for Terrorism and Security Studies, said he took the same view.
Vincent Lisi, the new special agent in charge of the Boston FBI, addresses an audience during a panel discussion on terrorism at the University of Massachusetts, in Lowell, Mass., Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013. The panel is being held in part to commemorate the new Center for Terrorism and Security Studies being opened at UMass-Lowell. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Lisi said al-Qaida is constantly looking for new tactics and methods and has "exponentially increased the number of people who are going to come at us," making the fight against terrorism increasingly challenging.
While it's possible to screen passengers getting onto airplanes, Lisi said "there are no trip wires that are going to catch people buying pressure cookers" or other common items like fireworks, ball bearings or nails like those used in the marathon bombs.
Davis also said Tuesday that he was bracing for a possible third explosion in the minutes after two bombs ripped through the finish line of the marathon.
Davis said he knew immediately when he arrived on the scene that the twin explosions were terrorist acts — and he had been trained that al-Qaida hits in three attacks. Despite that danger, members of the bomb squad immediately began cutting into the bags left behind by those who fled the area in search of other bombs, Davis said.
The April 15 attack killed three people and wounded more than 260 others.
"Police agencies don't have the latitude to think that it's over. We are continually planning," Davis said, "We always plan for the worst and hope for the best."
Davis announced Monday he would step down after seven years on the job, saying it was time for a change for both him and the city. Davis, 57, said he was "leaning heavily" toward accepting a fellowship at Harvard University but was entertaining other offers as well.
University officials say the new center aims to become a leader in scientific research, education and training so it can better understand and respond to domestic and foreign security challenges.
Those challenges include terrorism, cyber-security, transnational crime and the threat of weapons of mass destruction.
Maritime academy weighs arming its police force
by C. RYAN BARBER
BUZZARDS BAY — In the wake of the 2007 massacre at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and the mass shooting in December at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the conversation on arming campus police is hardly new to Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
But in a closed-door meeting earlier this month, the academy's board of trustees raised the possibility that campus police officers — currently armed with batons and pepper spray — would add handguns to their utility belts.
The timetable for the board's decision is unclear, as the trustees could take months weighing the risks against the rewards of arming the campus force of seven full-time officers.
Richard Covel, chairman of the academy's board, could not be reached for comment.
If the board opts to provide campus police with sidearms, the academy would become the eighth school in the nine-campus state university system with an armed force. The Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston would be the only school left without an armed force in the state university system, which falls under the state Department of Higher Education but is separate from the University of Massachusetts and community college systems.
Cape Cod Community College, about 2 miles up Route 132 from the Barnstable police headquarters, does not arm its campus police, nor is there a push to do so, spokesman Michael Gross said.
Adm. Richard Gurnon, the academy's president, said the administration would "completely support" whatever decision the board reached. He thinks, however, that the risk of an accidental discharge outweighs the advantages of armed police officers on the campus of about 1,500 cadets.
"Armed police had no apparent effect in stopping the gunman at Virginia Tech," Gurnon said. "Their police were armed. It didn't seem to make any difference. That's the risk and the reward. I am not aware of armed public campus officials interdicting the commission of a crime by an armed criminal."
Arming the campus police, he said, would cost thousands of dollars a year in equipment, along with training and routine re-qualifying for campus officers.
With its canalside location on a dead-end street, the campus is set away from the surrounding community but also within a mile of the Bourne Police Department headquarters and a state police barracks, Gurnon noted.
"That's a very, very quick response for the Police Department to get over there," Bourne Police Chief Dennis Woodside said. "I really stand behind whatever decision the admiral and the board of trustees come to. We'll support it 100 percent."
Christine Mucciarone, president of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy Parents Association, said she had mixed feelings about arming campus police. While she thinks the officers should be able to protect themselves and cadets in an emergency, Mucciarone said she already takes comfort in the proximity and fast response times of Bourne and state police.
"I would want to make sure that the training for the campus security is sufficient," said Mucciarone, who lives in Franklin. "I'd like to see security on campus, but the response times are great."
Bridgewater State University has an armed police force, but the town has a state facility for the criminally insane nearby, Gurnon said. Salem State University students live in the community and the armed campus force is occasionally called upon to assist in community policing, he said.
But the maritime academy is in a small town and the disciplined, dorm-based residential lifestyle keeps staff and students attuned to behavioral and mental health issues that might lead to violence, he said.
"We will not have students sitting in a room for three days, depressed and not coming out without student leadership and administrative leadership being aware," he said.