MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — A custodian at a high school in Medford, Oregon, faces felony charges after police say he took “significant steps” towards planning a “mass casualty event” — including one at South Medford High School, where he worked.
The Mail Tribune reports Kristopher Wayne Clay, 24, is in the Jackson County Jail on charges surrounding a cache of guns, ammunition and handwritten manifestos found at three locations in Jackson County.
Authorities say Clay obtained multiple rifles two years after courts prohibited him from owning firearms.
Clay began working as a custodian for the school starting in February until an investigation that began July 20, when authorities say he came into the Medford police lobby, asked to talk to an officer and confessed to having homicidal thoughts and plans to carry out an attack.
The officer placed him under a mental health hold, and transported Clay to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center’s behavioral health unit.
Police place a person under a mental health hold when the individual poses a danger to themselves or others, according to Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau. From there they typically admit a person to the hospital’s behavioral health ward and leave the case to mental health experts.
“In this particular case, we believe that he’d taken some pretty significant steps to carry out his plan,” Budreau said.
Budreau called it “unfortunate” that Clay had to be fully prosecuted, because Clay prevented himself from carrying out his plans by contacting police.
“Had he not come forward, who knows what could have happened?” Budreau said.
Clay made his initial appearance in Jackson County Circuit Court Thursday on felony charges of attempted second-degree murder, attempted second-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon, and misdemeanor counts of unlawfully possessing a firearm and tampering with physical evidence accusing him of damaging or destroying a journal he kept at the hospital.
Judge Laura Cromwell ordered no early release unless Clay posts a 10% bond on bail set at $2 million. Efforts to reach an attorney for Clay weren’t immediately successful.
Medford School District spokesperson Natalie Hurd said 45 high school students are currently attending the school’s “Panther Camp” summer program catching up on credits.
The school district terminated Clay’s employment, according to Hurd, and the school district is working closely with Medford police School Resource Officers.