School Resource Officer Acting on Leakage of Violent Intent May Have Prevented Mass School Shooting
Two sixth grade students have been charged with planning a mass school shooting at South Cumberland Elementary School in Tennessee.
The plot reportedly involved the students storing firearms in lockers prior to their planned event on the last day of school when they intended to shoot faculty and students and then commit suicide before law enforcement arrived.
Sgt. Gary Howard of the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office answers questions at a press conference concerning the thwarted attack on South Cumberland Elementary School in Tennessee. (Photo Copyright 2019 WVLT via Gray Television Group, Inc.)
The school's resource officer (SRO) is credited with playing a major role in stopping the attack. After the SRO learned of rumors of a "hit list" containing names of students to be shot, an investigation into the matter was initiated.
While the hit list itself was never uncovered, authorities did find a hand-drawn map of the school, a plot to smuggle weapons into the school and other details involving the planned attack.
The FBI reports that a majority of active shooters will leak their violent intent during the pre-attack stage of these incidents.
Where school shooters are concerned, the FBI advises they will most typically expose their plan to fellow students or teachers.
This incident further illustrates the critical need for schools and other employers to have formalized safety plans in place to include reporting systems for witnesses to direct any concerns to and furthermore for organizations to maintain a close relationship with local law enforcement.