At a Glance | December 17

Tip Helps Authorities Prevent School Shooting in Indiana

A teenager died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound amid an exchange of gunfire at an Indiana middle school where he planned to commit a shooting at on December 13, according to authorities. Law enforcement received a tip that morning of a possible violent act and encountered the 14-year-old boy from Richmond, Indiana, at Dennis Intermediate School when he arrived armed. The school had been placed on lockdown, but he shot out the glass of one of the locked doors (pictured) and entered the building. Police pursued him to a stairwell on the second floor, where officials said he fatally shot himself. It is not known if the boy had been wounded by police. No other deaths or injuries were reported. The boy’s name, weapons used, or motive for the attack have not been released. However, police indicated that he was not a student at the school.


3 Individuals Accused of Plotting Attacks in Ohio

Federal authorities have charged three people for plotting mass attacks in Ohio. Prosecutors said Damon M. Joseph, 21, planned to attack a synagogue in Toledo on behalf of ISIS. Following the shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue in October, Joseph told an undercover FBI agent that he admired the gunman and could carry out a similar operation. Prosecutors noted he researched targets, planned for an encounter with police, and wanted to kill a rabbi. After choosing a target, Joseph met with an agent on December 7 to pick up semi-automatic rifles rendered inoperable before being arrested. He caught the attention of law enforcement after posting images of weapons and messages supporting ISIS on social media. Prosecutors also announced a couple had been charged in a plot to attack a bar. Elizabeth Lecron, 23, is accused of buying supplies to build a bomb, while authorities said her boyfriend, Vincent Armstrong, 23, made false statements to law enforcement. Prosecutors said Lecron purchase black powder and screws after an undercover FBI agent told her supplies were needed for an explosive in a planned pipeline bombing. She previously expressed a desire to commit “upscale mass murder” at a Toledo bar. Agents contacted Lecron after learning she wanted to conduct a violent attack and glorified Dylann Roof and the Columbine school shooters on social media. Armstrong denied discussing attack plans with Lecron and buying bomb-making materials when interviewed by police on December 10. Authorities found weapons, bomb-making instructions, and tactical gear in a search of their home and vehicles. Guns, bomb-making components, and a journal discussing a violent attack were also discovered in a search of their home in August.


Wave of Hoax Bomb Threats Reach Several Schools, Other Locations Across New Jersey

Authorities said that a series of bomb threats delivered via email to schools and other locations in the United States, including New Jersey, on December 13 appear to be a hoax. The emails demanded payment in bitcoin, otherwise an explosive would be detonated at the location. Schools in Union County and public buildings in Monmouth County were among the targets of the emails. The New Jersey State Police noted the emails were part of a wave of similar messages sent to other locations around the country, including in New York and Massachusetts, and no harmful devices had been found at schools or businesses in New Jersey. Florida-based cybersecurity firm AppRiver obtained one of the messages, which it assessed emanated from Moscow.


For more information, please contact NJOHSP's Analysis Bureau at analysis@njohsp.gov or 609-584-4000.