COLVILLE, Wash. -- It was a young boy who tipped off teachers to weapons inside of his classmate’s backpack at Fort Colville Elementary School.
Justin Sanders says he doesn’t really know the fifth grade suspect accused of carrying a knife and gun, but they did ride the bus together. Justin, a fourth grader, says the boy tripped while getting off of the bus Thursday morning. The boy’s backpack spilled, allowing Justin to see the knife he carried in the bag.
“When I was on the bus, this one kid was getting off the bus,” Justin said. “And then he fell, his backpack opened, and a few sheets of paper fell out. There was also a knife.”
The long, green knife scared Justin, so he told a teacher immediately.
“In class, my teacher was crying and our art teacher, Mrs. Anderson, was crying,” he said. “The person I told has been calling me a hero a lot. It’s like everybody knows me and I have a lot of friends now.”
The Stevens Co. prosecutor said in court Friday the 10- and 11-year-old boys planned to kill an ex-girlfriend and hurt seven others. They were expelled for bringing the knife, as well as a gun and ammunition to school. Justin says the offer didn’t matter. He knew blowing the whistle was the right thing to do.
“It’s kind of scary actually. What if he tried to kill somebody? And it turns out he actually did have a list of people he wanted to kill.”
The suspects, who KREM 2 has chosen not to name, began planning this attack at least two weeks ago, investigators say. They add the gun the boy brought to school was stolen.
Later this month, the young suspects will face the judge again to decide if they will head to juvenile court.