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Embry-Riddle student arrested with ammo and collapsible rifle after threat to shoot up university

Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young holds a collapsible rifle found in the backpack of an Embry-Riddle student who was believed to be planning a mass shooting. Image: DBPD

A 19-year-old student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University was arrested Thursday after police say he was planning to shoot up the university.

Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young says John Hagins was plotting a mass shooting at Embry-Riddle on the last day of school before winter break.

Daytona Beach police displayed the contents of a backpack carried by an Embry-Riddle student who was believed to be planning a mass shooting. Image: DBPD

But police arrested Hagins early in the morning as he left his off-campus home in the Andros Isles apartment complex. He had a backpack containing a collapsible rifle, six loaded magazines, a scope and four boxes of ammunition.

“I’m extremely relieved that we are not the next national media story as it relates to a mass shooting on a campus because the intent was there,” the chief said during a press conference.

Two other students had tipped off campus security because of the plan that Hagins had laid out in a group chat on SnapChat.

“By the grace of God two students came forward and thwarted that plan,” Young said. “By the grace of God, they came forward and prevented Embry-Riddle Aeronautical from being the next national media story with regards to a mass shooting.”

Young says Hagins acknowledged making the threat but said he was joking.

Police said he faces numerous charges, but those charges had not had been determined as of early Thursday afternoon.

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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes


Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.