High Point University freshman arrested with guns in dorm room was allegedly plotting mass shootings
A college student at North Carolina's High Point University was arrested after being found with guns and ammunition in his dorm room, authorities said Wednesday.
Paul A. Steber, a freshman, admitted to planning a mass shooting at his school — a plot that reportedly depended on whether or not he was accepted into a fraternity.
The 19-year-old has been charged with two felony counts of having a gun on campus and one count of making threats of mass violence. No one was hurt during his arrest and the university said there was no immediate threat to other students.
Police were alerted to Steber's plan by another student. They arrested him Tuesday and found two guns — a 9 mm pistol and a double-barrel shotgun — in his dorm room, along with ammunition for both weapons.
Steber, who is originally from Boston, had allegedly been planning the shooting since last Christmas. He told authorities he'd decided to attend college in North Carolina because he'd have easier access to firearms.
"He told officers that he definitely had a plan, something that he had been thinking about since Christmas of last year," Guilford County Assistant District Attorney Lori Wickline said in court Wednesday.
Authorities said Steber had purchased the guns last weekend, although it's unclear whether they were bought legally or illegally. North Carolina law prohibits any person from carrying guns on school grounds.
Steber had reportedly been studying mass shootings — including the 2015 church shooting in Charleston, S.C. — leading up to his planned attack. According to Wickline, the 19-year-old was watching videos of similar incidents "so that he could learn what to do and what not to do."
Police did not share many specifics about Steber's plot, but they did note that he "had a plan and timeline to kill people." Additionally, prosecutors say that the Steber was planning to kill himself and his roommate if his roommate got into a fraternity and he didn't.
Steber, who does have a prior criminal record, is being held in jail on a $2 million bond. His father traveled from Massachusetts to attend his court hearing Wednesday.
"This is any parent's worst nightmare," defense attorney John Bryson said in court. "He's obviously very concerned about his son."