FLORIDA – The Daytona Beach Police Department have arrested an Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) student for plotting to shoot up the campus on the final day at the school before winter break.
19-year-old John Hagins faces numerous charges after campus security notified police early this morning of a concerning tip they received from a couple of fellow students.
“We could have had a tragedy unfold today,” stated DBPD Police Chief Jakari Young. “Instead, these students reported it to the school and that allowed us to get to work right away and bring Hagins into custody before he could carry out his plans. We thank them all for seeing something and saying something.”
“By the grace of God, those two students came forward and thwarted that plan,” Young said.
Volusia County emergency dispatchers were first informed by ERAU security at 4:10 a.m., which prompted officers to respond to the scene at 175 Aerospace Boulevard shortly afterward.
Investigators quickly discovered social media messages Hagins had written where he laid out his plans to bring a folding gun to the campus tucked inside a backpack along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
Police say it appears Hagins sold his vehicle to purchase the gun and ammunition.
Officers who took Hagins into custody at his home in the Andros Isles apartments found the gun, ammunition and backpack in his possession.
“While we were getting a search warrant, he ends up coming out so we were able to grab him and detain him,” Young said. “Once we detained him, we immediately noticed that he had this backpack. You can see there’s a magazine that he had in this backpack. Contained inside the backpack was a collapsible rifle.”
The weapon in question is a Kel Tec SUB2000.
Detectives are still trying to piece together the exact motive, but say Hagins was in danger of failing classes at ERAU and was also cited for a traffic infraction while on campus yesterday.
“He has already confessed to making these statements. He has confessed to it. He may want to claim that it was all a joke, and he wasn’t serious about it. But we don’t find anything funny about discussing a mass shooting on a campus,” Young said.
Asked about the plot being thwarted on the final day before winter break, Young said, “This was all a part of the plan because today the campus will be packed because everybody has to be there to take their final exam.”
Exact charges have yet to be determined.
Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University is a private university focused on aviation and aerospace programs.