Accused school shooting plot incubated by two Pennsylvania teenagers with gun rights were narrowly stopped after an “alarmed parent” contacted the school principal, local authorities said.
Logan duo Jack Pringle, 17, and Preston Robert Hinebaugh, 16, were in the “planning phase” of the attack, according to police, and now face charges of terrorist conspiracy and attempted assault. heavier work. Hinebaugh was also charged with one count of conspiracy to commit a crime and possession of a firearm by a minor.
Pringle and Hinebaugh will be tried as adults, the Cambria County District Attorney’s Office confirmed to The Daily Beast. Their capture follow a recent school shooting in Michigan killing four students and injuring seven, including a teacher. Last week, police in Florida arrested a student allegedly preparing an attack at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University just hours before he reported his plan to pull it out.
Just before 10:30 a.m. on December 7, Pringle entered Westmont Hilltop High School through the locked front door, according to a criminal complaint filed by Assistant Chief John Blake of the Upper Yoder Township Police Department.
Pringle has been banned from campus by court order since 2018, following a series of disturbing circumstances, including threats he allegedly made to “take a Glock and shoot him” school” after being expelled in February of that year. “I just had to figure out how to get into the school,” Pringle told at least eight classmates, the complaint states.
Hinebaugh let Pringle into the school last Tuesday, then the two “walked down the hallway to inspect the cameras and other features of the building,” the lawsuit alleges. Pringle then left the building through an unlocked exit in the school gym about 10 minutes later, it said.
That day, the mother of a Westmont Hilltop student received a text message from her daughter saying that Pringle had returned to school but “assumed he was admitted back into the district.” The parent, who did not wish to be identified, said she sent an email with her concerns to the school principal, who called “immediately” to say he would investigate. School officials then contacted police.
“We’re glad they took me seriously,” said the unnamed mother told CBS local branch WJAC. “I’m a bit sad that it took them so long to realize a student who shouldn’t have been there was roaming around the schools.”
On Wednesday, Pringle “was again seen on school grounds while dropping off Preston Hinebaugh,” the complaint continued.
“Hinebaugh illegally posted to his personal Snapchat account ‘Story’ a photo of Logan Pringle in the school building with the banner ‘He’s back’ over the photo,” it said.
Last week, the school checked the search history for “school-owned, school-issued devices” that Pringle used “on the school wi-fi system” and discovered “many related searches” to guns, especially an AR-15 forum,” according to the complaint.
Pringle’s Instagram profile, under the handle “takbir_300,” contains just five posts, nearly all of which are gun-related:
Police interviewed Hinebaugh, who told them that Pringle was “obsessed” with guns and was no longer welcome at the Hinebaugh home “because he fired a shotgun into the wall of the residence.” Hinebaugh also told investigators that Pringle “manufactured gun parts” while attending a local vocational school.
Under questioning by police, Pringle told investigators he “didn’t think going back to school would be so easy,” the complaint reads.
Pringle has a history of “threats and malicious actions related to Westmont Hilltop High School,” it explained. In January 2018, Pringle “lit a match and threw it on the school carpet,” the complaint says.
That same month, Pringle was “discovered in possession of fireworks inside the school”, it alleges.
“Counterfeit weapons were found by school personnel in Logan Pringle’s possession,” the complaint states. “Logan Pringle captioned it ‘I hate this school’ with a picture of a knife. Logan Pringle made a checklist for his ‘Rebellion’ that included weapons and a diagram of the school with a staircase/corridor labeled ‘Ideal Location.’
During a search on Thursday of the home where Hinebaugh lived with his parents, Gina and Phil, police seized weapons “without his parents’ knowledge,” the lawsuit states. The cache includes four non-accessible AR-15-style rifles and one pump action pistol, According to Sheriff Don Hess of Upper Yoder.
“As of 8:30 a.m. this morning, both suspects have been transported to another facility and both are not on bail,” Amber Williams of the Cambria County District Attorney’s Office told The Daily Beast on Monday.
Hinebaugh’s attorney, Matthew R. Zatko, told The Daily Beast, “My client denies all allegations and looks forward to defending herself and having her name cleared.”
Pringle does not have an attorney listed in court records and cannot be reached. However, a source close to Pringle’s family, who has deep knowledge of the teenager’s past, said Pringle had long suffered from mental illness and asserted that “the system has failed him more than a year”. time”.
“If he had received proper treatment, we wouldn’t be in this situation today,” the person told The Daily Beast, requesting anonymity to maintain existing relationships. “It’s sad that there’s no proper help.”
The source said Pringle wanted to join the army, and admitted that he “has an obsession with guns.”
“I know [the police] posted on his Instagram,” they said. “He loves guns, he can take a gun apart in two seconds and put it back together… but that doesn’t mean he’s going to go out and bombard a school.”
The source went on to argue that Pringle is “completely innocent, but he needs emotional help”. Instead, he was put in a group home, where he was “beaten and tortured, and that’s very sad”.
“Whenever I hear about one of these shootings, the first thing people should ask is, ‘What happened to this child to make them do this?’
In 2017, Westmont Hilltop High was forced to close for one day after a 12 year old student’s Twitter threat. As of Monday afternoon, nearly 1,500 people signed a petition urged the school to station a police officer on school grounds “to keep students protected every day.”
“I know we have the money to fix the football fields and I think they can allocate some money for better security and people on campus at all times,” the parent reported attendance. of Pringle on campus last week to school officials. tell WJAC. “It hopes to be able to prevent things like this from going as far as it did.”
Westmont Hilltop High opened as usual on Monday, with an “enhanced police presence” in place, including Upper Yoder Sheriff Don Hess, according to a letter sent to parents by superintendent Thomas Mitchell.
“District leadership is constantly communicating and assessing the situation to ensure continued safety precautions,” the letter read. “So classes will be on Monday, with an increased police presence in both school buildings. Sheriff Don Hess confirmed that he will be at the high school, and an Upper Yoder police officer will be available throughout the week to assist at the high school. ”
The Upper Yoder Police Department and Westmont Hilltop School District did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.
Pringle and Hinebaugh are scheduled to appear in court on December 20.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/logan-pringle-and-preston-hinebaugh-plotted-rebellion-at-westmont-hilltop-high-school-in-pa-police-say?source=articles&via=rss Logan Pringle and Preston Hinebaugh Plot ‘Rebellion’ at Westmont Hilltop High School in PA, Police Say