Ohio teen who killed himself at school planned mass shooting: police

A seventh-grader who shot and killed himself inside an Ohio middle school restroom last week was planning to shoot others at the school before changing his mind at the last second, a police chief said Thursday.

Police say they've discovered text messages involving plans for an attack, Columbine references

A police car is parked outside Jackson Township Middle School on Feb. 20 in Massillon, Ohio. A police official said the boy had the opportunity to shoot other students, according to video evidence, but that they're grateful he changed his mind. (Bob Rossiter/The Canton Repository via AP)

A seventh-grader who shot and killed himself inside an Ohio middle school restroom last week was planning to shoot others at the school before changing his mind at the last second, a police chief said Thursday.

The 13-year-old boy came out of the bathroom holding a semi-automatic rifle just before classes began and then abruptly went back inside and shot himself in the head, said Jackson Township Police Chief Mark Brink.

Police don't know why the attack wasn't carried out and probably never will, the police chief said. "We should thank God every day, whatever made him change his mind," Brink said.

Investigators found messages on his cellphone that showed the teen had been planning an attack for at least a week at Jackson Middle School, near Massillon. He also showed admiration for the two students who carried out the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado nearly 19 years ago.

"I'd hurt and destroy something bigger but my schools an easy target," he wrote in one message found on his phone.

"I want to leave a lasting impression on the world," he said in another message written days before he took the.22-calibre gun to school on Feb. 20. "I'm going to die doing it."

The messages indicating he was planning a school shooting began a week earlier, the same day that 17 people died in the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., Brink said.

Police said the teen rode a bus to school and concealed the gun under his clothes. He also had a backpack with extra ammunition, bottle rockets and batteries.

The boy went into the restroom as soon as he arrived at school, Brink said.

At about the same time, surveillance video showed he came out of the restroom and there were four students nearby, but for some reason he turned around, Brink said. Another boy in who was the restroom saw the gun and ran to tell school officials, he said.

The teen died a day later and the Summit County Medical Examiner's Office ruled the death a suicide.