March 27, 2018

A 16-year-old girl planned to use guns in an attack on her former high school in Audubon, the town’s chief of police says.

“We believe she had the ability to carry out her threat,” Police Chief Matt Starmer said, but he declined to elaborate.

The girl — who left Audubon High School in the fall and whom Starmer has declined to identify — was arrested two weeks ago after she allegedly mentioned her plan to other people who reported the threat to police. She faces a threat of terrorism charge in juvenile court, the proceedings of which are generally kept confidential.

More than a dozen school threats have been reported in Iowa since a school shooting at a Florida high school on Feb. 14 that killed 17 people, but none of the Iowa threats was deemed credible — aside from Audubon’s.

Audubon police were notified of the threat about 4:10 p.m. on March 12. Starmer has said an investigation that day revealed “signs there was a plan in place” and that the girl “could have carried it out.”

It’s unclear if an attack was imminent.

Starmer declined to reveal what specific firearms the girl might have had access to, nor whether she had ammunition.