Sheriff: Teen arrested after Paw Paw HS threat deemed ‘credible’

PAW PAW, Mich. — Detectives with the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office investigate at least five shooting threats a week since January, said Sheriff Dan Abbott. Sometimes, they turn out to be nothing. On Sunday, one turned out to be something.

“We had information come into our office yesterday evening about a kid that was possibly going to carry out some terrorists threats at Paw Paw High School today,” said Sheriff Abbott in an interview at the station. “During the investigation they did find it to be very credible.”

It was. Sheriff Abbott said the tip came in from a local family, reaching out to them for help. The 15-year-old suspect was interviewed at the station while detectives conducted a search warrant at his home.

“Once at the residence they did recover two stolen firearms which had been sawed down that was going to be used with multiple rounds,” said Sheriff Abbott. “If it wasn’t for the family something horrific probably would’ve happened today.”

Detectives also recovered “bomb-making materials” that was to be used for pipe bombs and molotov cocktails, he said. They conducted other interviews and determined that the suspect was planning to work alone.

“There was 100 percent intent on murders happening [and] bombs going off,” said Sheriff Abbott. “You just wouldn’t think of that with a smaller community like this.”

The suspect was arraigned on Monday in South Haven. He’s facing six felonies including one for a terrorist threat, Sheriff Abbott said.

“He’ll be getting the help he needs,” he said. “There’s some obvious mental [health] issues going on that our investigators picked up on.”

Detectives checked the school to make sure it was safe he said. Monday, the superintendent cancelled classes and told students in a statement that there’d be increased police presence when they return Tuesday morning. Sheriff Abbott said there’ll be law enforcement there all week but he’s grateful that family tipped them off.

“Any tip you get, let someone know,” said Sheriff Abbott. “I mean you can do it anonymously. We don’t care. We just need to get the tip, get the information to us so we can run with it, so that something tragic does not happen.”

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6 comments

    • Michael

      “Help” would require a court order which can’t happen without charges.

      He was preparing to murder people. He had stolen firearms sawed down to help conceal them and bomb making materials. Do you think he deserves to be out and about because he’s “only 15”?

        • Michael

          Where the adult system is made to punish the juvenile system is made to rehabilitate. Getting “the system” involved early gets him the help he needs.

          If the parents have him committed to a hospital the parents can have him released. I don’t have faith in the average parent to keep their “can do no wrong” child in a psychiatric hospital.

          Would you prefer to trust that the parents do the right and not let him out until he gets the needed help or would you prefer the courts be involved from the start to order the help?

  • Thinker

    This kid was never going to shoot up the school. He was tired of being bullied but he’s smart enough to know that if he just called in a threat that the bullying would continue. He thought that if he could get together all of the supplies that are “needed” for a school shooting, people would think he was serious when he reported himself. If you think someone will seriously shoot up a school if you bully him anymore, you will stop bullying him. He wanted to make everyone think he would do something drastic so the bullying would stop, without ever having the true intentions to physically harm anyone.