TIME Crime

Cops: Would-Be School Shooter Admits Being ‘Really Mentally Ill’

Minneapolis News - June 18, 2014
John LaDue, accused of planning an attack on his school was scheduled to make an appearance in court, Waseca County Sheriff's deputies walked him into the Waseca County Court for a morning hearing in Waseca, Minn., June 18, 2014. Richard Sennott—Zuma Press

According to a police transcript, Minnesota teenager John LaDue planned to murder his family and shoot up a school, seeking "as many victims as [he] could get"

A Minnesota 17-year-old accused of planning a school shooting carefully outlined to police how he intended to massacre his family and school friends before admitting he thinks he’s mentally ill, according to transcripts of his police interviews released Tuesday.

In the transcripts, which go on for more than 140 pages, John LaDue details every step of his plan. He hoped to shoot his parents and sister, then distract people at his school with a fire, set off bombs in the school, kill the resource officer there and then shoot students.

When officers asked LaDue why he wanted to kill these people, he said it was for his own pleasure. “I had fun entertaining the thought of actually like injuring and maiming people and like showing that I am dominant over them,” LaDue said. “I want as many victims as I could get.”

The Waseca, Minn. teen told police he wanted to focus on killing students his own age, and that his plans were not motivated by hate. “I’ve never been bullied in my life,” he said. He added that his parents were “very good parents. They’ve never done anything wrong.”

He claimed to have idolized and studied the shooters responsible for the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado as well as older criminals, dating back to the 1920s. But LaDue emphasized he was not like Adam Lanza, the shooter responsible for killing 20 first-graders and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“I don’t care for Adam Lanza,” he said, according to the transcript, calling the shooter “cowardly” for targeting young children and for “taking out himself when the cops arrive.”

Officers arrested LaDue in April before he could carry out his plans. He is now in jail and faces multiple charges, including attempted murder. He has pleaded not guilty.

Toward the end of the interview, LaDue asked police offers when would be a good time for him to see a psychiatrist. “I think I’m just really mentally ill. And no one’s noticed. I’ve been trying to hide it,” he said.

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