MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Oklahoma News

September 23, 2013

Trial to begin in alleged school attack plot

Affidavit says Bartlesville man planned to use guns, bombs

TULSA (AP) — A Bartlesville man accused of hatching a plot last year to murder classmates and police officers at his high school faces a jury trial Monday.

Sammie Eaglebear Chavez, 19, is due in a Washington County district courtroom. He has pleaded not guilty to prosecutors’ claims that he intended to lure students into the Bartlesville High School auditorium, chain the doors shut and then shoot them. Chavez also planned to place bombs by the auditorium doors and detonate them as police officers approached, according to an affidavit.

Chavez has been jailed on $1 million bond since his arrest in December — which came hours before a gunman opened fire at a Connecticut elementary school and killed 20 children and six adults before turning the gun on himself.

Chavez also tried to obtain a map of the school campus and had recently used a school computer to get information on a platform to support a .22-caliber rifle, according to prosecutors, who did not return phone messages Friday seeking comment on the case.

A student informed school officials about the plot — Chavez allegedly tried to recruit classmates — and the school officials called police. No one was injured.

Chavez’ mother has said her son sent her a text message two days before his arrest saying that he wanted to “shoot up” the high school because he thought some students were talking about him behind his back. But she also said she didn’t think her son would have carried out the attack.

“Deep down, I don’t think my son would have done this,” Jessie Chavez told the Tulsa World shortly after her son was arrested. “That’s not my son. My son laughs and makes jokes. He’s always pulling pranks.”

Chavez also said her son showed symptoms of possible mental illness and had been seeing a therapist — but the court found him competent to stand trial after ordering a mental competency exam.

A phone number listed in court records for Jessie Chavez gave an automated response when dialed on Friday that it was not currently accepting calls.  A message seeking comment on the upcoming trial left with a defense attorney for Chavez went unreturned.

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