HIGH POINT, N.C. – A 19-year-old college freshman who told police that he was obsessed with mass shootings has been arrested after police say he planned to kill his roommate and himself if he didn’t get into a school fraternity.
USA TODAY reported that Paul Steber of Boston was arrested in his dorm room after two students alerted police that he had been keeping firearms on campus grounds. A search of his room turned up a 9mm handgun and a 12-gauge double barrel shotgun.
The High Point Police Department issued a statement saying that Steber is now facing charges of possession of weapons on campus and making threats of mass violence. When interviewed, Steber reportedly told police that he was obsessed with mass shootings and that he was planning on killing himself and his roommate if he didn’t get into a fraternity.
Assistant District Attorney Lori Wickline said that Steber had allegedly been planning a shooting spree since last December, and said that he was “not going to be an outcast any longer”. She told the court that the college freshman had bought the two firearms over the weekend and then brought them to his dorm room.
According to statements made to police, Steber and his roommate were both planning on pledging to a fraternity, and that “if his roommate got into a fraternity and he didn’t, he had a plan to kill his roommate and himself.”
The assistant DA went on to say that the 19-year-old had been studying videos of prior shootings, including the 2015 attack on a Charleston church that left nine dead, “so that he could learn what to do and what not to do.”
“Thank you for your support during this time. And always remember – If you see something, say something.”
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ADA Wickline also told the court on Wednesday that Steber chose High Point because of the ease of access to acquire firearms.
Steber reportedly said that he picked the school “because it was easier to get guns in North Carolina than other states.”
Police in NC arrest a Boston 19 year old- claiming Paul Steber had guns and ammo and planned to murder people at High Point University, where he is a freshman. I’m standing by at his back bay prep school where he recently graduated. The headmaster says he’s shocked. More at 5. pic.twitter.com/VNoQMQWoKl
— Jonathan Hall (@JHall7news) August 28, 2019
The High Point Police Chief expressed great thanks to the students who alerted authorities about the student’s stash of weapons.
“This incident illustrates the importance of the public reporting suspicious activity to authorities,” High Point Chief of Police Kenneth J. Shultz said in a statement. “Information from the public is often the critical first step in preventing acts of mass violence.”
HPU president Nido Qubein condemned the actions of the 19-year-old freshman, saying that Steber was “a young man making a really bad choice.”
Yesterday, HPU President Dr. Nido Qubein shared this important message with students, parents, faculty and staff. Today, we’re sharing with it with you. Thank you for your support during this time. And always remember – If you see something, say something. https://t.co/yE2i1pTkBP
— HighPointUniversity (@HighPointU) August 29, 2019
“It’s a tough world we’re living in, it really is,” Qubein said. “We all should questioning why is it like this. But crazy things happen. What is important is on this campus that we work diligently to ensure the safety of all of our students, staff and faculty every day.”
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