DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — An Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University student accused of planning a mass shooting on the school’s campus appeared before a judge Friday afternoon.
19-year-old John Hagins’ mom, dad, and step-mom, as well as some fellow Embry-Riddle students, sat in the audience for his first appearance. He was given no bond.
Daytona Beach police said they caught Hagins outside his apartment Thursday morning with a collapsible rifle and ammo in his backpack on his way to a firing range.
Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young said two students are credited with alerting campus security after they saw threatening messages Hagins made on Snapchat around 4:10 a.m. Thursday.
According to an arrest report, a friend of Hagins told officers that Hagins had been accused of sexually assaulting a woman at an Embry-Riddle party last year. After that, the friend told investigators, Hagins grades started slipping until he was failing.
The friend told officers that last week, Hagins “began talking excessively about purchasing a gun and the gun being able to fold so it could fit inside his backpack to take to school and ‘shoot it up.’”
According to the arrest report, that friend said Hagins also told him he would purchase a silencer so he would be able to shoot inside the library.
In an interview with investigators, Hagins said drove to Dunnellon on Wednesday night to buy the gun on Facebook Marketplace.
Hagins’ friend told police that after Hagins’ purchased the gun, he said, “I finished by back to school shopping.”
“He referenced Columbine. He said once he was done at that firing range he was going to campus,” Young said.
Young said Hagins made those remarks to officers after he was arrested.
“This was all in his plans,” Young said. “By the grace of God, those two students came forward and thwarted that plan.”
Channel 9 did some digging and found out the north Miami native is an undergrad aeronautical science major.
Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University would not tell Channel 9 about Hagins’ academic and disciplinary record.
Police are not aware of any criminal record or mental health issues.
Hagins is expected to appear before a judge at 1 p.m.