18-Year-Old In Poultney Arrested For Threatening School Shooting

Feb 16, 2018

According to a press release from the Vermont State Police, Jack Sawyer, 18, was arrested Thursday after police learned Sawyer had “communicated his desire to cause mass casualties at the Fair Haven High School.”

Jack Sawyer, 18.
Credit courtesy of the Vermont State Police

State police say the investigation is still active and detectives are still conducting interviews and collecting evidence.

Fair Haven Police Chief William Humphries says police were told on Wednesday that Jack Sawyer, a former student at Fair Haven High School, bought a gun and made threats towards the school.

The threats were two years old, but as a precaution, police upped their presence at the town's schools. Humphries says Sawyer was detained after a second call came in on Thursday:

“We received a call from a law enforcement agency in the state of New York that they had received information from a student that there was a new allegation,” he said. “Based on that, we contacted the Vermont State Police, where a decision was made to detain which ultimately led to him being charged.”

Major Glenn Hall of the Vermont State Police told reporters that until recently Sawyer had been at a residential treatment facility in Maine to cope with anxiety and depression.

Hall says when detectives interviewed Sawyer he had detailed plans for how he would carry out the shooting.

“He told detectives that he had been reading books on the Columbine shooting,” he said. “He [Sawyer] admitted that he was planning to come to back to Vermont to fulfill his plan to shoot up the high school...He said he would have carried out the shooting but wasn't sure when and even with law enforcement intervention he would carry it out when he had the opportunity.”

Hall says police recovered multiple items from Sawyer's car including a shotgun, ammunition and a journal title 'The Journal of an Active Shooter.'

Police are asking anyone who had recent contact with Sawyer or has information about the incident to contact the state police.

Sawyer’s arrest Thursday came a day after a 19-year old killed 17 people at a school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Gov. Phil Scott says the incident in Fair Haven, combined with the shooting in Florida, "jolted" him.

“Especially after reading the affidavit and realizing that only by the grace of God and the courage of a young woman who spoke up did we avert a horrific outcome as a result,” Scott said.

Gov. Phil Scott said Friday, that the allegations are alarming, and that he's now open to a conversation about gun control.

“This conversation can't be just about guns, but having said that, we need, I need to be open minded, objective and at least consider anything that will protect our kids,” he said.

Sawyer was arraigned on this afternoon at Rutland Superior Court on multiple charges including attempted aggravated murder, attempted first degree murder and attempted aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Vermont State Police say the investigation in to the incident is active and ongoing.

Updated 5:47 p.m. to include further reporting.