Dale Warner, the 14-year-old Sage Valley student who brought two handguns and 36 rounds of ammunition to school and allegedly threatened to shoot students and staff members, has been charged as an adult.
The eighth-grader faces nine counts of attempted first-degree murder.
Each of the nine counts is for a potential victim who was identified as someone Warner intended to target or was in the classroom where he planned to commit the shooting Tuesday morning.
During an interview with investigators, Warner said he “did not have any concern about what he was going to do and did not have sympathy for any of the families who would have lost their children,” according to court documents.
If Warner is convicted, he could face life in prison and a fine of $10,000 for each count of attempted first-degree murder, according to the Campbell County Attorney’s Office.
When Warner woke up Tuesday morning, he said he decided he wanted “to shoot up the school to honor his biological father,” who had recently died and who as a teenager had brought guns to school with the intent of shooting several people, according to court documents.
Warner also said he “hoped he could go to jail just like his father.”
He retrieved two handguns, a 40-caliber and a 9mm, from his family’s truck and placed the unloaded 40-caliber in his waistband and the 9mm in a Broncos duffel bag, according to court documents. He also put ammunition in his pockets and in the duffel bag.
Warner later told investigators that he occasionally fired the two handguns at targets and thought he was competent at shooting.
On the bus ride to school, Warner said a prayer asking God to provide him the opportunity to shoot all the students he could.
He decided to shoot a class where he didn’t like the teacher and where the students “constantly made jokes about him,” according to an affidavit. He also planned to shoot “anyone who made him mad.”
During first period, Warner Googled “what happens to school shooters” and how he could go to jail. He ended up clicking on a Washington Post story titled, “How Mass School Shootings Affect the Education of the Student Who Survives.”
While Warner was walking through the hallway shortly after first period began, he showed another student the gun and said he was going to get in trouble. The student was so startled he returned to class, but after a couple of minutes went to the main office and told Principal Terry Quinn.
Quinn promptly removed the other students from the classroom Warner was in. When Quinn asked Warner if he had a gun on him, he said “yes.” Quinn removed the gun, which didn’t contain a magazine, from his waistband. Warner then handed over the magazine and extra bullets, which were in his pants, according to court documents.
Warner also told Quinn he had a gun in his locker, so Quinn removed the duffel bag and backpack from his locker and brought them to the principal’s office.
Staff called police and held Warner in the principal’s office until officers arrived.
The school was placed in a 90-minute lockdown while officers interviewed several students.
At least three students knew about the guns and Warner’s plans to shoot students and staff but didn’t report it because they were scared of what Warner would do to them or thought he wasn’t going to shoot anyone, according to court documents. In one case, Warner told a student he would shoot him if he told anyone.
No one else has been charged in relation to the threatened Sage Valley shooting.
Warner is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in Circuit Court on Wednesday.