Dale Warner, 14, is to be charged as an adult for nine counts of felony attempted first-degree murder after planning and nearly carrying out a threat to shoot up Sage Valley Junior High School Tuesday to honor his biological father.
Warner had been removed from his biological parents several years before Tuesday’s incident and was placed in a foster home, where his foster parents were reportedly abusive, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed in the case.
The 14-year-old was then relocated to live with his mother and adopted father, who occasionally took Warner target shooting. It was during these practice sessions that Warner learned how to shoot the two handguns, a Smith & Wesson .40 Cal and XD 9 mm, which he reportedly intended to use on Nov. 13.
Warner told officers, who spoke with him at Sage Valley, that he felt he was “a pretty good shot,” court documents say.
On Nov. 12, Warner stated that he learned of his biological father’s death, apparently from a heart-attack, which caused him to become emotionally distraught.
The next morning, Nov. 13, approximately one hour before school started, Warner recalled a story he had heard about his biological father.
According to Warner’s statement to police, he believed that his father had once brought firearms to school in an attempt to carry-out a school shooting, but had been stopped and ultimately sentenced to prison.
Warner decided he wanted to do the same in an attempt to honor his biological father, hoping he could go to jail and follow in his father’s footsteps, according to the affidavit.
Warner reportedly decided that he would begin shooting in a class taught by a teacher that was “mean” to him and students that “constantly made jokes at his expense,” court documents state.
Warner’s plan of attack included targeting the teacher, a female student he “didn’t like”, and excluded another student whom he did not have a problem with, according to the affidavit.
Warner also devised a plan to shoot additional students outside the class by retrieving the handgun from his locker.
After getting ready for school on Nov. 13, Warner entered his adopted father’s vehicle, where he took the two handguns. He placed one in his waistband and the other in a Bronco’s duffel bag.
Court documents say that Warner prayed briefly after boarding the bus to go to school saying, “Let this be in my favor and don’t let my family get sued,” and wanted “God” to provide him the chance to shoot all the students he could.
Before class began, Warner shared his plan with one of students he did not want to shoot, allegedly telling the student to “get down when he told him,” the affidavit says.
The student did not report Warner at that time, reportedly under threat of being shot if anything was said.
During an earlier class, Warner began researching online about the consequences that school shooters face and ways that he could go to prison.
Warner left class several times, asking to use the bathroom and requesting he be allowed to place items in his locker. During this time, Warner shared his plan with several other students, showing them the firearms and the ammunition, according to the affidavit.
One student decided that the planned attack needed to be reported and immediately informed a school faculty member that Warner had “lifted up his shirt to reveal a handgun,” court documents state.
The school faculty member confronted Warner during class, instructing the 14-year-old to hold still and not reach for anything or he would be removed from his chair.
When asked, Warner, reportedly informed the faculty member that he had a handgun on his person, ammunition, and another handgun was concealed in his locker.
The faculty member secured the firearm and, while Warner was escorted to the front office by another faculty member, retrieved the duffel bag from Warner’s locker.
The .40 Cal handgun, while not containing a magazine when confiscated, still had a round in the chamber.
The 9 mm handgun secured from Warner’s locker contained a full magazine of 9 mm hollow point rounds and a round in the chamber.
While Warner was speaking with officers, he stated he was in a boxing club and reportedly asked if police would shoot him if he started punching officers.
Allegedly, the 14-year-old related to officers that he was not concerned with what he was going to do nor did he have sympathy for any families that could have lost their loved ones that day.
Warner was taken into custody and is charged with multiple counts of attempted first-degree murder. He is scheduled to appear in court during a preliminary hearing set for Nov. 21.