Bartlesville students return to school after shooting plot is foiled

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Updated: 12/18/2012 9:24 am Published: 12/17/2012 8:51 pm

When students got to Bartlesville High School Monday morning, they noticed more police officers than usual greeting them at the door. 

That's because the district and the police department want to send a message. They take safety very seriously in light of a foiled plot to shoot students at the school that was discovered by administrators.

Friday was a blur for Bartlesville School District staff.

“I wasn't even able to get to too much coverage of what was going on in Connecticut because we had our situation here,” said Chris Tenea of Bartlesville Schools told FOX23.

Bartlesville police say a search of the home of a teenager, 18-year-old Sammie Eaglebear Chavez, charged with plotting to shoot classmates and detonate bombs at a local high school, uncovered a small-caliber rifle and notes about a possible attack, but no bomb making materials.

Court records allege Chavez tried to recruit other students to help him in his plot on December 12th in the cafeteria.  Police say Chavez told the other students he planned on luring students to the auditorium, chaining the doors shut and shooting them.  Police also say Chavez threatened to kill the students he was recruiting and/or himself and talked about placing bombs at the doors to kill police as they arrived.

Court records show school computer records show Chazez searched for a type or rifle with a machine gun base on a school computer and researched the Columbine High School massacre. He also went to a website devoted to making pipe bombs.

Chavez was arrested early Friday morning after school officials notified police that Chavez told students at the school he was planning a shooting.

“We think we did a really good job stepping in and intervening. (We succeeded in) creating the sense of openness,” Tenea told FOX23.

On Monday, a pair of state lawmakers floated the idea of allowing school staff members to carry guns as a safety measure inside our state's schools.

It’s a proposal Bartlesville Police Chief Tom Holland isn't ready to endorse yet.

“The problem is not teaching people how to shoot, the difficulty is knowing when to shoot,” he said.

Holland says after what happened in Newtown Connecticut and what could have happened in Bartlesville, everything needs to be on the table.

“We're in uncharted territory. We've got to look at everything, and that's one thing. That’s maybe number 606 on a list of 2,000.”

This near-tragedy is already leaving an impression at police headquarters.

“Treat these as real, turn these in, and we'll let the professionals determine if there's any credibility or not,” Holland told FOX23.

Court records don't indicate whether Chavez has been appointed an attorney. He remained jailed Monday on $1 million bail. Bartlesville Police said Monday that investigators are still sifting through possible evidence that was uncovered during a search of the home where Chavez lived with his mother. 

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