Embry-Riddle Aeronautical campus shooting thwarted after tip

April 02, 2022

John Argis Hagins IV, 19, a student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, a private aviation and aerospace focused university in Daytona Beach, Florida, was arrested last week on charges of Terrorism, written threat to kill or injure and attempted first degree murder with a firearm, after tipsters called in a potential school shooting to Daytona Police. He is currently being held without bond for all charges until he appears before a judge.

Hagins was arrested outside of his apartment on 110 Acklins Circle at 9:00am on December 09.

On December 09, 2021, police responded to a suspicious incident at 175 Aerospace Boulevard where they spoke with a security officer at Embry-Riddle University who informed them that a student and old roommate of John Hagins expressed concern over statements Hagins had been making about a shooting he had been planning.

The friend, who’s name was not printed in the affidavit and is referred to as “Witness Two” in the document, explained that he had met Hagins the previous year on campus when they were assigned as roommates. They had continued to be friends and Hagins was a good student, however, he had been accused of sexual assault, for which he was investigated, on a fellow student the previous year.

 Following the accusations, Hagins’ grades dropped rapidly, resulting in him failing his classes, and he quickly lost all interest in flying. Hagins holds a private pilot licence and became certified to fly in the fall of 2020. He was also recently cited for a traffic infraction while on campus grounds.

Witness Two decided to report Hagins to campus officials after a concerning conversation during a car ride the week before. At one point during the journey, Hagins began ranting about shooting up the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Campus and revealed his plans to purchase a foldable firearm that he could fit into his backpack and smuggle into the school. Witness two became extremely concerned when Hagins spontaneously sold his vehicle, which was once a passion project, to afford a firearm on Facebook Marketplace. He purchased a Black Sub2000 Kel-Tech gun with around eight hundred rounds of ammo which Witness Two said Hagins referred to as his “back to school shopping.”

 The Kel-Tec Sub2000 is advertised as a "Hollywood quiet", folding carbine firearm. Carbines are barrel shortened rifles that are compact versions of a longer rifle often chambered for less powerful cartridges. They are smaller in both size and weight making them easier to transport and manage and cost around $500.

At 11:00PM on December 09, Hagins messaged Witness Two and told him that he was ready for the shooting, telling him it was scheduled for the following day, the last day of his classes. He also attached a picture his school bag filled with ammunition and the firearm he had recently purchased and sent it to Witness Two over Snapchat.

A brown Ford F150 that had been parked on the campus parking lot on December 08 was identified by police as being parked outside Hagins apartment on Acklins Circle. Campus security confirmed Hagins address and police began to survey the apartment and follow his movements. Hagins left the apartment at around 9:45AM, armed to the teeth. When police stopped him, they retrieved a brown backpack filled with ammunition and a firearm fitting the description of the folding carbine described by Witness Two, a rifle scope and ear defenders. Officers also found extra magazines in the suspect’s trouser pockets.

Officers read Hagins his rights and he agreed to speak with them at the station on Valour Boulevard where he waived his Miranda rights.

When questioned about his intentions that day. Hagins told police that he was planning to visit Volusia Top Gun shooting range to practice with a friend. He did not deny making comments to Witness Two regarding perpetrating a school shooting at Embry Riddle Campus and admitted to buying the firearm from Facebook Marketplace after selling his truck and getting a refund from school. Police believe he was going to visit the shooting range before heading to Embry Riddle.

Hagins also told Witness Two that he planned to buy a silencer for the firearm as he planned to shoot inside the school library. He also referenced the April 20, 1999, Columbine High School massacre that saw twelve students and one teacher dead. The columbine massacre ended with the suicide of both shooters in the school library.

Daytona Beach Police Department Chief Jakari Young said: “Today is the last day before winter break. Today is the last day. Today is finals. Final exams. So, this was all part of the plan because today the campus (would) be packed because everybody has to be there to take their final exam, so this was all in his plan. By the Grace of God those two students came forward and thwarted that plan.”

“He may want to claim that it was all a joke, and he wasn’t serious about it. But we do not find anything funny about discussing a mass shooting on a campus. If he was looking for attention, he has got it. He said once he was done at that firing range, he was going to campus to enact a Columbine.”

The thwarted Embry Riddle shooting comes hot off the heels of the recent Oxford High School shooting in Michigan, perpetrated by 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, whose parents neglected to take him out of school and search his backpack for the firearm he had smuggled into the building after teachers found violent drawings of guns and bullets and caught him searching for ammunition on his cell phone while in class.

Chief Jakari Young finished the public statement saying: “If you see something, you say something. This is the way we combat what’s going on in this country right now.”

Sources: [X][X][X]

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