- The Washington Times - Monday, April 21, 2008

CHESTERFIELD, S.C. (AP) — Students arriving today at a small South Carolina high school faced newly installed metal detectors and extra security because a student was arrested in what authorities said was a plan to carry out a Columbine-inspired attack.

Bomb-sniffing dogs checked the hallways and classrooms at Chesterfield High School, authorities said. Metal detectors were borrowed from a courthouse, and police met students at the doors.

The father of one 16-year-old sophomore said the police work over the weekend gave him confidence his son was safe. “I think they’re pretty much on top of it. They’ve had plenty of time to find anything,” said parent Michael Wattson.

The alleged plotter, Ryan Schallenberger, 18, was due in court today for assignment of a lawyer. He was arrested Saturday after his parents called police because 10 pounds of ammonium nitrate was delivered to their home in Chesterfield. Police also said they discovered a disturbing journal.

Chesterfield County prosecutor Jay Hodge said he will ask that Schallenberger undergo a mental evaluation when the teen appears in court tomorrow for a bail hearing.

“We’ve had bomb threats at other schools before and we always have to take each threat seriously and I’m essentially concerned in this situation because of the documentation that the young man had and his apparent ability to actually carry out the conduct,” Hodge said.

Police Chief Randall Lear said Schallenberger “seemed to hate the world. He hated people different from him — the rich boys with good-looking girlfriends.”

Schallenberger was one of the top students at the high school of about 544 students and had not caused any serious problems before his arrest, principal Scott Radkin said.

The school’s Web site lists Schallenberger as a member of the 2007 academic bowl squad. He won an academic award from Newberry College in the last school year.

The teen was in the Chesterfield County jail last night, charged with possessing materials to make bombs, the police chief said. Other than the bomb-making material, no other weapons were found at his home, Lear said.

Schallenberger kept a journal for more than a year that detailed his plans for a suicide attack and included maps of the school, police said. The writings did not include a specific time for the attack or the intended targets.

The teen planned to make several bombs and had all the supplies needed to kill dozens, depending on where the devices were placed and whether they included shrapnel, Lear said. Ammonium nitrate was used in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 that killed 168 people.

Schallenberger also left an audio tape that was to be played after he died explaining why he wanted to bomb his school, authorities said. Lear wouldn’t detail what was on the tape except to say Schallenberger was an angry young man.

Lear said Schallenberger did not have an attorney. His parents could not immediately be located by the Associated Press.

In his writings, Schallenberger said he admired the two teens who killed 13 people at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999 before committing suicide, Lear said. The attack happened nine years ago Sunday, but Lear said investigators do not know whether there was any link between the anniversary and Schallenberger’s plans.

Chesterfield is a town of about 1,500 people in northeastern South Carolina near the North Carolina line.


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