Grandma Foils Potential Mass Murder at Washington High School

New national gun policies like Fix NICS might have their place (some would say, “buried in the backyard”), but local community intervention via a concerned citizen (or armed concealed carrier) will always be the best way to stop the next school shooting.

Case in point, WFMY News2 reported yesterday that a possible mass murder had been foiled at a Washington State high school by the would-be shooter’s grandmother. The woman, Cathi O’Connor, called the authorities after reading troubling statement’s in her grandson’s journal.

Court documents state the young man, recently identified as 18-year-old Joshua O’Connor, wrote, “I can’t wait to walk into class and blow all those (expletives) away,” and “I need to make this shooting/bombing infamous. I need to get the biggest fatality number I possible can.”

The journal also stated, “I am learning from past shooters/bombers mistakes so I don’t make the same ones.”

O’Connor owned an AK-pattern rifle, which he had stored in a guitar case. Prosecutors have also alleged that the teen possessed inert grenades that he planned to fill with black powder.

Mukilteo School District spokesman Andy Muntz said O’Connor had not exhibited troubling behavior.

“It really speaks to the importance of if you see something or hear something to notify the authorities. That’s what she did. It could well have saved many, many lives including her grandson’s life,” Muntz told local media.

O’Connor’s plan came as a shock to his friends, including Olivia Fox, who said she was stunned at the accusations leveled against him.

“There was lot of shock around the school when they released a picture of who it was,” she said. “Me and a couple of his other good friends are shaken up, because we know how good of a kid he is.”

SEE ALSO: Trump Backs Fix NICS Background Check Legislation

Officers arrested O’Connor at school and booked the 18-year-old at the Snohomish County Jail on probable cause for attempted murder due to planning and taking substantial steps toward executing a school shooting.

He is currently being held on charges of attempted murder in the first degree, robbery and assault on an officer. He assaulted an officer while trying to escape during his arrest, and he is suspected of robbing a convenience store using the AK.

This story comes in the wake of the recent massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. In that tragedy, the suspect exhibited worrying behavior and had even been reported to the FBI. The AR-15 he used to kill 17 people was purchased legally the year before.

Since the news broke on Wednesday, pundits and politicians have been debating (fiercely, often irrationally) about the best way to keep America’s students safe. As the anti-gun lobby works to take advantage of the Florida tragedy and convince Congress to ban semi-automatic rifles, perhaps they should consider this story in Washington.

About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Rob T November 18, 2018, 11:08 am

    The red flag concept is terribly flawed. Awaking a law abiding citizen at 5am to confiscate legally purchased gunsmay work well for serving felony warrants but is an open door to vendictive neighbors, pranksters or relatives with grudges. As it is, this is a system with no due process that is ripe for abuse with potentialy tragic consequences. There has to be a better way to assess risk.
    As one who has been a victim of home invasion and Robbery. Had I not been armed the bad guys were ready to take my life to get whatever they could. In every case, I had seconds to defend myself and police were just minutes away.

    To legislators and police: there has to be a more effective and constitutional way to disarm an armed citizen who may or may not pose a threat.

  • DG April 23, 2018, 2:27 pm

    The main problem is: God was taken out of schools!
    Kids are not taught the value of human life, including their own…

    The media glorifies terror attacks and these evil people that kill mass groups.. IT’s all about the so called glory and being in the news for months or longer to come.. Thinking they’ll be famous.. Over the last 30 (or many more years) consequences and punishment has not fit the crime. IF you take a life, you are to be put to death period… Not in 20 years but immediately after the act.

  • Cheryl February 23, 2018, 2:07 pm

    I wish the politicians would quit trying to make laws that are not enforceable. Anti drug laws have not stopped drug traffic
    or drug deaths, DUI laws have not stopped deaths due to drunk drivers. Even speed limit laws have not stopped people from speeding. It is only when someone gets caught breaking a law that these laws are enforceable. Heck we cannot even stop illegal aliens from crossing the boarder. Criminals will get guns even if they are banned or make them and they will not need a back ground check. Guns are not bad….people are. My child was raised in shooting sports since age 10. There was never a desire in her to shoot anyone. Education is the best way to solve this problem and a few more ARMED guards at school would certainly help. If kids know there are several armed guards at school (and teachers with guns) they might not be so inclined to try to shoot anyone. We need to bring the pledge of allegiance and prayer back in school and teach kids to respect adults and each other

    • Jonathan Willard February 24, 2018, 9:31 am

      I agree 100%!!!my 9 year old little girl is a better shot than her uncle.and she has special training in safety,and firearms respect.shes bullied every day at school.but she will use what The Good LORD gave her and use her I have taught her.Armed teachers maybe.Armed police in and outside with”assault rifles and lots of magazines with their issued sidearm,and wow problem solved.thank you ma’am.

  • Joe February 23, 2018, 12:32 pm

    I went to a high school back in 1993 which already had metal detectors in place. Every morning all students had to go thru the metal detector and have their bags checked. In the 3 years I was there, there was never any incident where a weapon was used on anybody. Why? BECAUSE IT WORKED. And that was years before the Columbine shooting. So, instead of these idiotic politicians trying to take away our second amendment right to keep and bear arms, why don’t they rather concentrate in funding our schools so that they can buy and put in place metal detectors in the first place. As well as to hire school safety guards like they do in NYC schools, properly trained in the use firearms. Instead, the Democrats use times like these so they can brain wash people’s mind and get them to side with them in banning guns.

    • Bruce February 23, 2018, 2:39 pm

      I believe that more importantly, we should ban the First Amendment. Where do these kids get their ideas from to shoot up a school? Violence in movies. The same movies that Mr Clooney, Hypocrite that he is, makes his millions from. All of these libbers in the movie industry are killing our kids with shows that shows them how to do what they do. Dump it !!!

      • Gstaat February 23, 2018, 6:03 pm

        Let us not forget the desensitization of the hyper-graphic video games that so many of these kids are into. Better yet would be to try to instill corporal punishment back into the schools while enforcing the rules. Teachers no longer set the standard of decency. Discipline and punishment is a bad joke. I could not believe the crap I saw when my youngest was in public school. And he attended the same high school I did at that time 30 years before. The stuff I saw would have NEVER been tolerated in the mid-1970s. And you know what else, we as students there would have never tolerated the crap either. Granted there was an “Us and Them” attitude between school personnel and the students but there was also a 2 way respect. That has long since disappeared and we are now paying for it in ways we never imagined.

      • Derek February 23, 2018, 6:48 pm

        That’s a great idea. Then this website would cease to exist the first time we get a democratic congress again. Remember the part about “I don’t agree with your opinion but I fight for your right to state it”?

  • Joe Beaty February 23, 2018, 10:26 am

    Really intelligent piece, thanks.

  • Tom February 23, 2018, 10:22 am

    Trump made the comment the other day that we are short on mental institutions. Law enforcement can put a perpetrator in jail, after the fact. But that doesn\’t do anything for the grieving family that just lost a family member. The 19 year old shooter at Parkland shot, and killed 17 people. And wounding others. He can only be given the needle, once. Still entitled to see court appointed defense lawyer though.
    The former Soviet Union has mental institutions. Where one can apparently be committed for merely being a political dissident. Let alone possessing a semi automatic weapon, and committing wanton murder. We have jails and prisons enough for those who have already committed a crime. But arresting and jailing everyone who has merely thought about, but not committing, a crime is likely to be difficult, and expensive. If the rantings of a potential perpetrator seem credible, confiscate the weapon, and have him committed for an extended psych evaluation.

    • Joe February 23, 2018, 12:19 pm

      I agree with you on this. We should have mental institutions for this kind of troubled young adults. Where they can go to school (if they seem fit) and also have their second amendment rights stripped away. This is where idiotic politicians should be concentrating their efforts instead of criminalizing guns and the law abiding citizens that own them.

  • Tom February 23, 2018, 10:20 am

    Trump made the comment the other day that we are short on mental institutions. Law enforcement can put a perpetrator in jail, after the fact. But that doesn’t do anything for the grieving family that just lost a family member. The 19 year old shooter at Parkland shot, and killed 17 people. And wounding others. He can only be given the needle, once. Still entitled to see court appointed defense lawyer though.
    The former Soviet Union has mental institutions. Where one can apparently be committed for merely being a political dissident. Let alone possessing a semi automatic weapon, and committing wanton murder. We have jails and prisons enough for those who have already committed a crime. But arresting and jailing everyone who has merely thought about, but not committing, a crime is likely to be difficult, and expensive. If the rantings of a potential perpetrator seem credible, confiscate the weapon, and have him committed for an extended psych evaluation.

  • Lou Fisher February 23, 2018, 9:36 am

    You know, The Grandmother is a good example of ‘insider information’ – These kids in the schools are in constant touch with eachother and right or wrong the tools are in place to make the alert to the cops that there are weirdos in their midst – I personally think if the students had a direct online lifeline to the authorities they could bring the roof down on these terrible violent acts – They really know everything – What do you think???

  • Christopher Sourp February 23, 2018, 9:01 am

    Now that is how you do it. Authorities notified and they took care of the situation. Are you listening Florida ! What a clusterf**k of mistakes and ineptitude by local authorities and the FBI. Oh, and the SRO on site. Unbelievable. Maybe all these protesting little minds full of mush should direct their little protests where it should be directed, at the failures of authorities. The Florida shooting should never have happened. People dropped the ball big-time.

    • Irish-7 February 23, 2018, 10:01 am

      I concur. I was appalled at the news this morning, revealing a Sheriff’s Deputy was standing outside the school, but failed to make entry. I cannot imagine what he was thinking! There were unarmed teachers that protected students. Why didn’t this School Resource Officer attempt to find the scoundrel? Why did local and federal authorities fail to act before this tragedy? There were not just one or two encounters, there were over twenty interactions with police. Good God, there will be some folks living out their days under a cloud of regret!

  • Barry Soetoroe February 23, 2018, 8:07 am

    NHTSA reports 17,000+ traffic fatalities in the first six months of 2016. Let’s ban cars!

    • Zupglick February 23, 2018, 9:31 am

      They are already working on that with self-driving cars. Once they are “good enough”, they will start banning manual driving.

    • mike February 23, 2018, 1:31 pm

      Why not raise the age requirement for a drivers license to 21? If people are really interested in saving lives that is a good place to start!

    • Derek February 23, 2018, 6:46 pm

      That’s the plan. Once they get the bugs out of drone technology we’ll eliminate the human from the equation. Get a cheap energy source and we shall all Jetson to work. The problem with automobiles is humans. Same problem with guns. 20 years ago after the Dunblane mass school shooting (17 dead), UK banned all semi auto weapons, handguns and all. There hasn’t been a school massacre since.
      I love my VZ58 and my handguns but I’ll happily hand them in if it saves children’s lives. I hope we can all say the same.

      • Adrian February 25, 2018, 9:57 am

        There hadn’t been a school shooting before Dunblane either though so not really proof of anything.

  • Barry Soetoroe February 23, 2018, 7:53 am

    I lost family in the 1940’s NAZI Germany. They had the flaw of being Jewish-German. They could not own guns of any sort and paid a terrible price for their law-abiding principals. The 2nd Amendment is fully intended to place the citizen at the TOP of the food chain….not equal to, or slightly less armed than the police or government forces. Socialist, the North Korean ass-clowns, Stalin, Clinton, Pelosi, Schumer, and Hussein Obama, understand this principle all too well.

  • Shane Camburn February 23, 2018, 7:15 am

    **Push not puch lol…

  • Shane Camburn February 23, 2018, 7:09 am

    Blue Dog, I do appreciate that you and many like-minded persons care enough to want to finally do something about this violence issue in the US. It is refreshing to see so many motivated and unified against violence… However, all the nonsense being presented in the mainstream rhetoric, as things never tried before, most are already laws and the rest will simply be ineffective. We all need to think outside the box and look at new approaches.

    As it stands there are “common sense” gun laws. No mentally defective, former felon, or person that has ever been arrested for violence may purchase any firearm in any state as it stands. Gun laws are currently so strict that even active law enforcement and military personnel have trouble at times. Even if we went all out civilian ban, that wouldn’t have stopped the Las Vegas shooter who had a special SOT3 T11 FFL which allows him to buy, sell, and trade military grade firearms and destructive ordinance (being missiles, bombs, grenades, mines, etc) internationally, capable of importing and exporting them.

    People that suggest stricter mental health regulation also wouldn’t have prevented either Vegas nor Parkland because neither had been adjudicated as mentally defective.

    We can get behind Pres. Trump on that the idea that NICs need to work, but that wouldn’t have prevented any of this either, and when it comes to mass shooters who’s sole goal is to kill as many people as they can, an illegal act, I don’t think if they acquire the weapons legally or illegally matters, since they are planning a felony crime and will lose all gun rights anyway.

    Passing legislation that requires gun free zones to hire armed public servants is an idea to reduce death tolls once the violence begins, but will not prevent it. Still, Las Vegas would’ve ended up the same or similar although it could’ve reduced injury and fatality counts in some of the schools… COULD have, not necessarily would have, but likely would have somewhat at least. Full ban will reduce GUN violence, but being that gun violence only accounts for 4% of the US violent crime and fatality rate, what would this really accomplish other than make more law abiding citizens victims. A brief look at most of the nations that went full ban and we see that they tout gun violence drops as a major win, but the rise in other violence cannot be ignored as the murder rate decrease only tends to drop minorly if at all. In most nations we see an increase in violence and more illegal, unregulated, untraceable weapons which are leading to more unsolved murder cases and missing persons.

    An idea I seen a Dem Legislator in TX kicking around made sense, and that was enacting the NRA’s safe gun handling guidelines as laws. This would at least provide some recourse for the public when gun owners behave poorly or mishandle firearms. The other being gun owners responsible for “accidents” involving their firearms. I can get behind both of these concepts but at the same time, when we are talking about prevention, I don’t see what it would do in the realm of mass shootings.

    Then, there is the ideas of re-licensing, which I will call re-qualification as that is what they actually mean, every two years, during which gun owners will be required to pass a series of tests to show they understand proper gun handling and safety, and that they can shoot to at least a degree of personal protection and defense readiness. This is already required in most gun states, but I can get behind this as well since I hate licensing people that I do not feel confident in their gun handling abilities, but meet the state minimum required standards to pass. I think legislators need to meet with firearms training professionals like myself to discuss what will and won’t work in regards to the propositions that make sense for the intended accomplishment.

    Finally, you have the issue of violence, which never gets brought up in this debate, but is the crucial detail here… Why are people growing increasingly violent? Now I have a bunch of observations, one of which I wrote a term paper on in my criminal psychology class a few years ago which has garnered some attention lately… The Granovetter Theory of Human Psychological Thresholds in regards to violence. Basically Granovetter illustrates how people have different thresholds of stimulus to react to factors surrounding their lives. Once something is considered common, more people, people who would have never reacted in such a way, will choose that reaction is a valid and reasonable one in regard to the stimulus. Granovetter illustrates his theory in the actions of mob starting a riot. The first person/persons to begin damaging property and resorting to violence are already radicalized individuals. They have a threshold of zero and are just looking for a reason to behave violently. Then you have the 1-10 group. They will not cast the first stone, but once others have done it, they will radicalize as well fairly easily. Then the 11-20 group and so on. The question really becomes, why is it today that so many are permanently set from 0-10 as it is? Otherwise righteous people that would be the 91-100 group are sitting in the 0-10 bracket, waiting for the right moment to begin violence?

    Maybe, it is because for the last 25 years we’ve seen nothing but violence on the TV. Every time you turn on the news people are ramming violence down our throats. Terrorism, mass shootings, murder, lather rinse repeat, then throw in a side of governmental corporate corruption, their coming for your rights, and fear, fear, FEAR! In the words of Yoda, “Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to the Darkside.”

    Maybe if we’d stop immortalizing every terrorist with more historic coverage than our great heroes… Most would fall back to the mentality they were at before. We weren’t always THIS violent. What changed? I think the answer lies in the 80’s sitcoms… just saying. Family has eroded to nothingness… Look at all these shooters, what do most have in common? They were alone, outcast, no one knew them, no close family or friends, broken homes, radicalized and waiting for the puch to set them over the edge… Just something to ponder…

    • ed February 23, 2018, 8:33 am


    • Joe Beaty February 23, 2018, 10:23 am

      Really intelligent piece, thanks.

    • Wzrd February 23, 2018, 11:48 am

      I agree with most of your comment except the “re-qualification”. I shouldn’t have to prove every two years that I haven’t forgotten how to handle a gun responsibly. Who will pay to facilitate this? You, as an instructor, would be making money from this situation. For the rest of us it will cost money.

  • Matt February 23, 2018, 6:19 am

    In the South, a Blue Dog was a conservative leaning Democrat.
    But also remember that Russian trolls use comments like Mr. Blue Dog does.
    They are doing a great job at pitting us against ourselves.
    And I’ve read that they are targeting firearm sites.

  • Blue Dog February 19, 2018, 2:06 pm

    How did this young man obtain an AK-pattern rifle? Did he purchase it with a background check from a licensed firearm dealer, like the kid in Florida?
    It is wonderful that this one school shooting was averted but how many more could we prevent with some common sense pre-emptive gun violence legislation? How many could we stop with a serious overhaul of outdated, 50 and 80 year old firearm laws? Would it be worth the sacrifice of our gun rights to stop 50 mass shootings? 20? 5? What about if we can prevent just one? These MSRs are a menace to society and too often a tool of mass murderers of children.

    • Bob February 19, 2018, 8:35 pm

      blue dog you are a tool. Pre-emptive gun violence legislation?? You are a lib and a loser talking gun control which has nothing to do with this most recent school shooting or most of these mass shootings. Who let this little f*ck in through the door at that school? I want to know that. Who didn’t follow-upat the FBI on this little f*ck? Who chose to hide rather than fight this little f*ck? Go away liberal loser….

      • Donald Hall February 23, 2018, 7:16 am

        Thank you Bob for your response.
        No thank you Blue Dog for your typically erroneous and libtard statement.

    • Tristan Darkthunder February 23, 2018, 4:35 am

      “Blue Dog”
      What some people seem to forget is that it is the individual behind the tool, not the tool itself.
      What if they used firebombs (aka Molotov Cocktails) which is simply Gasoline/Styrofoam in glass jars?
      Ban Glass containers, Gasoline and Styrofaom?
      Those two people were legal adults who made a choice. They knew the consequences and wanted their “15 Minutes of Fame.”
      What we should do is stop giving these clowns free publicity via the Media and just stick with the basic facts.
      Take them to Trial, sentence them and forget about them, don’t mention their names, do not give them any Media coverage and forget they ever existed.

      Maybe just Maybe this will end.

    • Erik February 23, 2018, 7:03 am

      Blue dog, you just don’t get it. It is embarrassing that Americans say such ignorant things and just can’t comprehend such simple concepts. The tool, in this case a gun, is not the problem- the action of the individual is the problem. Replace the scary word “gun” with something else and the action is still what is harming people. Did you know that on average hands and feet kill more people every year than modern sporting rifles (that is the correct term for what people like you wrongfully call assault rifles)? And cars, kitchen knives, baseball bats, hammers, all kill far more people every year than msr’s. Do we ban those too? I meam if we could just save 50, 10 5? Please use your brain and common sense before posting things, and not just regurgitate stupid inaccurate talking points.

    • Barry Soetoroe February 23, 2018, 7:19 am

      There is much truth to “Lord of the Flies”. Boys without a father or a decent and good man-mentor in their lives tend to become little demons. Our courts have allowed mothers to break homes at the slightest whim or the next fling with zero regard of what the broken home will do the children. The strength and fiber of our families is eaten away by the termites of liberalism.

    • Barry Soetoroe February 23, 2018, 7:23 am

      You Sir, are a fool.

    • BlueDogSucksHog February 23, 2018, 9:54 am

      Alright now Guns America, you know how it goes, sing it with me!
      And a 1 and a 2 and a….

    • Wildfire February 23, 2018, 10:13 am

      Blue Dog, please tell us what new gun control laws, do you believe, the violent predators who ignore the current and more serious laws against rape, robbery, murder . . . and mass-shootings, would obey? And how would “Undocumented Pharmacists” be able to run the NICS checks on the stolen guns they wish to legally sell?
      Where has the cowardly and illogical ideology of “The more helpless you are when attacked with deadly intent, the SAFER you are!” actually saved lives?Being helpless when attacked with deadly intent doesn’t work to protect 4-legged-sheep; it doesn’t seem to work any better for bipedal sheep either.

  • Bob February 19, 2018, 11:28 am

    Thank you Cathi O’Connor and a big thank you to the local police for their quick response to prevent another tragedy. This is one way to prevent these school shootings from happening and a second way is to do away with these gun free school zones so that responsible school staff members can arm themselves to deter these people from killing defenseless students and staff. Great work law enforcement and Ms. O’Conner!!

Send this to a friend