Waseca, MN (KARE 11) --- Prosecutors say police in Waseca likely foiled a planned school massacre when they arrested a teenager in connection with the March discovery of explosive devices on the grounds of a local elementary school.
A juvenile petition says 17-year-old John David LaDue of Waseca is charged with four counts of attempted first-degree murder, six counts of possessing explosive devices and and two counts of first-degree criminal damage to property. All the charges reportedly involve a plot to kill his parents, his sister, and then a school liaison officer and as many students as he could.
At a 3 p.m. news conference on Thursday, Capt. Kris Markeson of the Waseca Police Department told reporters that authorities believe LaDue was acting alone. He says he believes LaDue would have succeeded if he had not been caught.
The investigation began March 24 when melting snow revealed a pair of devices on the Hartley Elementary School playground in Waseca. Police say one of the devices had detonated while the second had failed to ignite. Four days later a third device was found inside of a stuffed toy. It was already detonated.
On Tuesday, just over a month after the discovery of the explosives, 911 was called by a person who saw LaDue going into a storage unit and the caller thought he looked suspicious going in and out with a backpack.
Waseca Police arrested LaDue after executing search warrants at a residence and at the storage facility in Waseca. Once there, detectives say LaDue detailed an elaborate plot that started with murdering his mother, father and sister with a .22 caliber firearm. LaDue then planned to go to a remote area outside Waseca to start fires that would pull first responders out of town.
At that time, investigators say, LaDue planned to go to the middle and high school campus during lunch and set off pressure cooker bombs to kill students. When the school police liaison officer responded, LaDue planned to shoot him, and then open fire on more students.
Our partners at KARE 11 tried repeatedly to speak to LaDue's family in Waseca but never got a response.