Cops: Ohio School Shooter Changed Mind at Last Second

13-year-old shot himself instead
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 2, 2018 12:40 AM CST
Cops: Ohio School Shooter Changed Mind at Last Second
An official talks with a motorist outside Jackson Township Middle School, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018 in Massillon, Ohio.   (Bob Rossiter/The Canton Repository via AP)

A seventh-grader who shot and killed himself inside an Ohio middle school restroom last week was planning to shoot others at the school before changing his mind at the last second, police say. The boy, 13-year-old Keith Simons, came out of the bathroom holding a semi-automatic rifle just before classes began and then abruptly went back inside and shot himself in the head, says Jackson Township Police Chief Mark Brink. Police don't know why Simons didn't carry out the attack and probably never will, the police chief says. "We should thank God every day, whatever made him change his mind," Brink says. Simons died a day after shooting himself and the death was ruled a suicide.

Investigators found messages on his cellphone that showed the teen had been planning an attack for at least a week at Jackson Middle School, near Massillon, the AP reports. "I'd hurt and destroy something bigger but my schools an easy target," Simons wrote in one message found on his phone. "I want to leave a lasting impression on the world," he said in another message written days before he took the .22-caliber gun to school on Feb. 20. "I'm going to die doing it." The messages indicating he was planning a school shooting began almost a week earlier, the same day that 17 people died in the Parkland shooting, Brink says. He says it doesn't appear that anybody else knew about the plan.

(More school shooting stories.)

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