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Seventeen-year-old student charged in plot to stage attack on high school

Jacob Dwight Hill faces charges after police discover a journal with his violent plans for the Newberg school


By Newberg Graphic news staff

Charges have been leveled against a Newberg High School student who was allegedly working on a mass shooting plot against fellow students and staff before the end of the school year.

Yamhill County District Attorney Brad Berry identified the student as Jacob Dwight Hill, 17. Results of the investigation have been forwarded to Berry’s office.GARY ALLEN - Threat averted -- A mass shooting plot against Newberg High School students and faculty was thwarted when students reported the plans to school counselors. Charges have been leveled and expulsions are underway.

According to a probable cause affidavit prepared by Newberg-Dundee police, Hill had compiled a detailed plan to obtain weapons, plant bombs in the school and carry out a mass shooting in the coming months.

The NDPD learned about a threat of violence March 3, after NHS students had shared concerns with school counselors. Working with school officials, the NDPD determined that two students who were involved in the potential threat had violated probation. Officers took those students into custody that night, calling the threat “credible.”

One of the juveniles was Hill, who has been charged with two counts of first-degree assault and one count of attempted unlawful use of a weapon.

Through interviews with some 30 students, teachers and counselors the police have documented an ominous series of actions by Hill that could have led to violence.

The NDPD learned from students about a journal kept by Hill that contained his plans. At least four people besides Hill were present when the plans were recorded in the journal, the probable cause affidavit filed Monday said.

On March 3, officers located the journal and found in it a list of “about 20 people,” a “crude handwritten but detailed map” that included a plan to “take out” the school resource officer, lock gates and isolate people in a “kill zone.”

Hill had allegedly taken “substantial steps” to obtain a gun – including attempting to get into locations where firearms were located – and had made a list of supplies to carry out the plan, including guns, masks, bombs, knives, chains, locks and “lots of ammo,” the affidavit indicates.

In the journal Hill allegedly wrote about what he needed for “shooting up the school” and wrote that he wanted to “personally kill at least 100 people.” He also noted his “growing obsession with shooting up my school.”

Through interviews the NDPD determined the student planned to carry out the attack “within approximately 70 days,” and noted that he initially planned to carry out the attack on the last day of school but that he realized many students would “likely not be in school on the last day of school” so he would do it sooner.

The NDPD highlighted the collaboration between law enforcement, school officials and students on the case.

“We were able to work together to avoid this potential tragedy,” Capt. Jeff Kosmicki said.

Acting principal and district assistant superintendent Dave Parker said Monday afternoon that he has initiated expulsion proceedings for several students in accordance with school district policy and administrative regulations.

Parker added that expulsion proceedings, which begin with a pre-expulsion conference, have not been started for the two unnamed students who were detained by the NDPD because they are still in police custody.

Parker added that threats of violence, as well as instances of drug or alcohol distribution or bringing any kind of weapon to school, are typically sufficiently grave in and of themselves for a principal to begin expulsion proceedings.

According to district policy, a pre-expulsion conference is held with a student and their parents, at which time evidence of the infraction is heard, along with a report on the student’s academic performance and attendance.

The principal can then make a recommendation for expulsion to the superintendent, who will have the final say on the matter.

If the parents disagree, they can request a hearing with a designee of the superintendent to dispute the evidence, disagree with the length of the expulsion or to assert that state laws or district regulations were violated in the handling of the expulsion.

“A lot of times we’ll put them through to the pre-expulsion conference and then at this conference, a contract is worked out or something else happens that the student comes back to school,” Parker said.

School district spokesperson Claudia Stewart said that rumors about the incident — that a gun was involved and that a Friday assembly was cancelled for safety reasons — have been especially persistent at the school but that both are untrue.

Parker added that because threats of violence impact all members of the school community it can be hard to regain a feeling of normalcy, but that the school is operating as it normally would.

“For me, it highlights how important our students are when they hear things, we need them to report it so we can act on it,” Parker said. “That was really the success here.”