TROY, MO (KPLR) – They are breathing a sigh of relief in Troy, Missouri after a potential high school shooting was averted, possibly by just minutes. Deputies say a seventeen year old student at Troy Buchanan High School showed his girlfriend weapons, and told her he had a list of people he was going to kill.
Deputies say Blaine Erb was supposed to pick up his girlfriend at a different school, nearby New Horizons High, at 1pm Wednesday. It was 12:45 when the girl told her school resource officer what was happening.
“According to his girlfriend he showed her three handguns that were loaded and an assault rifle one of the AK 47 type assault rifle,” Major Kurt Venneman said. “He had a list and there were specific names on that list at Troy High school.”
Deputies immediately alerted that school and two others, telling them to go on lockdown. The schools did, and soon “robo-calls” were going out to parents. Pam Green, with twin daughters inside, received one of the calls, and says she could think of only one thing.
“Columbine,” she said. “I’m just gonna be honest with you, Columbine, that’s what I thought. Please don’t let this be a Columbine. That’s what I thought it was. In this small district you wonder like, oh my goodness, is this gonna happen in this small district of Troy? It’s really shocking when I heard that.”
Police were rushing to the school, searching desperately for the suspect. Students were inside. Teens in back rooms were communicating via social media with those near windows who could see what was happening.
“So we all like pull our phones out and were like on Twitter and stuff,” senior Tamara Jones said.
Her twin sister Tia completed her sentence, “And people were saying there’s cops out there and they have their guns out and this is serious not a joke. It was really scary.”
As this was happening, deputies managed to reach Erb on his cell phone. They told him to turn himself in. He was driving toward the sheriff’s office when police pulled him over and grabbed him. All along, Venneman confesses, Columbine was in the back of their minds.
“As law enforcement, we’re trained now. We’re trained for active shooters. We’re trained for these specific type situations to act quickly and I think we did that in this case.”
School system officials say Buchanan, New Horizon, and Troy Middle school, which is connected to New Horizon, were locked down for about half an hour Wednesday afternoon. All the while they were doing what they could to keep worried parents up to date.
“We tried to implement as many ways as we could to make sure parents knew their kids were safe and we were doing the best we could,” spokesperson April Bryant said.
Deputies expect charges against the teen by Thursday. They are questioning his family and are trying to locate the weapons that were reported by his girlfriend.