Investigators detail Hilliard Davidson student’s alleged plan of school shooting

Hilliard Davidson Panned Shooting
Hilliard Davidson shooting plans

A Hilliard Davidson student is accused of planning to recruit other students to take part in a mass shooting at the school.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien announced charges against 16-year-old John Staley III Tuesday.

Sources tell 10TV that federal investigators had been following Staley since last month but they feared his alleged plot was falling into place so they moved in and arrested him.

Last month, Hilliard Police announced that they had stopped a potential threat against the school, but did not release details at the time.

According to court documents, Staley had shared a map with two students on a school bus about his plans of the shooting. Both students agreed to take part.

O’Brien said the diagram laid out the plan including listed weapons and the personnel number of people needed to carry it out. The plan needed 15 people.

Officials say a student at the school overheard the plot and reported to the school resource officer.

Hilliard Superintendent Dr. John Marchhausen said there three students that were removed from the school and suspended September 21. Police arrested Staley October 7.

Students and parents described Staley as someone who kept to himself.

During their investigation, police took his phone and computer where they found pictures of assault weapons.

O’Brien said that Staley also visited a gun store but did not confirm if he had any actual weapons.

He also confirmed that Staley’s internet search history included information about mass school shootings, various guns and their cost.

Staley has been charged with conspiracy to commit murder for the planned threat.

He is also facing separate charges for photos found on his phone by police. They found photos he had taken up girls’ skirts and naked pictures of himself he had sent to someone.

Below is a copy of the letter sent to parents from Hilliard City Schools:

Dear Hilliard Families,

On September 21, 2016 a concerned student approached School Resource Officer Rich Quigley about a possible threat made against Hilliard Davidson High School. Hilliard Police and Hilliard City School staff acted immediately to ensure the safety of students and staff members. The individuals involved were isolated and removed from the school environment while an investigation ensued. At no point were our students or staff in imminent danger.

This investigation revealed what the student described as a “joke” was actually an elaborate written plan to harm students and faculty at the school. Collaboration between Ron O’Brien and his staff at the Franklin County Prosecutor’s office, Hilliard Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Joint Terrorism Task Force, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the Hilliard City School Administration was essential to uncover the details of this case.

A warrant was obtained for John Leonard Staley III, age 16, who was arrested on Friday, October 7th, 2016 for Conspiracy to Commit Murder F1. Mr. Staley is being held at the Franklin County Juvenile Detention Center.

This plan was thwarted because one young student had the courage to communicate their concerns over a conversation they heard. This student stood up for what was right and reported what was wrong.

This is another example of our outstanding Hilliard partnerships between students, faculty and police. Together we keep our community safe. ​

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