Daytona Beach, FL - A new report released by the Daytona Beach Police Department details what happened before officers arrested a 19-year-old Embry-Riddle student who had plans to shoot up the school.
According to that report, a witness who was close to John Hagins of North Miami Beach—who is set to make his first appearance on Friday (Dec. 10)—said he was making good grades and stated “nothing abnormal” stuck out to him about Hagins. However, the witness told police things seemed to have changed after Hagins was accused of sexually assaulting a female at a party the year prior.
It was during that investigation that Hagins grades began to drop as he also stopped flying. The week prior to what would have been the shooting, Hagins reportedly talked excessively about buying a folding gun that could fit in a backpack. He also sold his truck, which he had “ambitions of fixing,” according to the witness.
After selling his truck, Hagins purchased a black Kel-Tec SUB2000 rifle—which is capable of folding—on the Facebook Marketplace, along with approximately 800 rounds of 9mm ammunition. When he showed the gun to the witness, Hagins said he finished his “back to school shopping.”
The night before the shooting, Hagins informed the witness that he prepared his bag, which is when the witness called Embry-Riddle Campus Security to inform them about what was going on. That was the same day that Hagins’ truck was issued a parking ticket on campus.
It took police only four hours to investigate the plot and track down Hagins. Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young spoke to News Daytona Beach and said the department has technology to thank for the swift arrest.
"We had the advantages of technology to help us locate people," said Chief Young. "We were able to deploy that and find a specific location of where we thought he was. And it was accurate."
Chief Young added that he met with the students who informed security about the plot before meeting with Hagins so he could personally thank them.
"I wanted to thank them first before anything else," said Young. "I wanted to reassure them that they did the right thing by coming forward with that information. A lot of people would have hesitated, but they didn't do that."
And with around 800 rounds of ammunition, Chief Young said Hagins could have topped other mass shootings.
"He literally had enough ammunition to top all of them," said Young. "He was loaded for bear. It could have been horrific."
Officers with the DBPD later met Hagins outside of his apartment and detained him just before 10:00 a.m. Police say he was carrying the backpack with two magazines visible in the outer pockets of the bag. The gun was also sticking out of the top of the bag.
Upon questioning, Hagins told investigators he traveled all the way to Dunnellon to purchase the firearm. He used money from the sale of his truck and a refund from ERAU to fund the purchase. He also admitted to police that he made comments to a former roommate of his about shooting up the school, and referenced the 1999 mass shooting at Columbine High School. These comments were made in-person and via the Snapchat messaging platform.
According to court documents, Hagins is slated to make his first appearance in front of a judge at 1:30 on Friday (Dec. 10). He is also scheduled to be arraigned on February 1, 2022. At this time, Hagins remains in custody without bond at the Volusia County Branch Jail, charged with written threats to kill or injure, terrorism, and attempted first degree murder with a firearm.