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Court papers: soldier “always wanted to shoot up a school”

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The Fort Drum soldier who was arrested on a terrorism charge Wednesday reportedly told a parent of two Evans Mills students that he was going to let her daughter live but kill her son during a school shooting.

Pfc. Caleb J. Larson, 22, was charged Wednesday with making a terrorist threat, a Class D felony. He was arraigned in LeRay Town Court and remains at the Metro-Jefferson Public Safety Building on $50,000 bail.

On Saturday, he was drinking beer at a Martin Road farm with some friends when he said he “always thought about shooting up a school,” according to a police statement given by the mother, Holly J. MacCue, who has children in the Indian River Central School District.

The conversation alarmed her so much that she told the children’s grandmother, Kathy MacCue, a cafeteria worker at Evans Mills Primary School, about it either Sunday or Monday, according to the statement obtained through LeRay Town Court.

On Wednesday morning, the grandmother told a school secretary about the conversation, the court papers said.

Almost immediately, the Indian River schools were put into lockdown after district offices reported a threat that an unidentified person with a gun possibly was headed toward the Evans Mills Primary School.

It was unclear why the woman waited until Wednesday before telling anyone about the conversation. On Monday, school was closed for the Columbus Day holiday and on Tuesday, no students were at school as the staff had a professional development day.

During Saturday’s conversation, Pfc. Larson, who joined the Army in April 2012, also told the mother he “has guns and could get guns any time he wants,” according to her statement. When he made the remarks, Pfc. Larson “was straight-faced” and had a serious look, she told Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department investigators.

She responded to him that she has children, and he said “he’d let my daughter live and kill my son,” according to Ms. MacCue’s statement. Pfc. Larson, who had been with her children on about 10 occasions, did not know where they attended school, she told sheriff’s investigators.

The mother’s account was backed by another witness, Michael B. Lavery, who overheard part of the conversation, court documents said.

County emergency 911 dispatchers reported to responding officers that the alleged threat was heard by a cafeteria worker over the weekend. All eight Indian River schools were put into lockdown.

While there was no apparent imminent threat to the school, limited-access-to-buildings procedures remained in place throughout the day as a precautionary measure. The lockdown began at 8:40 a.m. Wednesday. Several police patrols were sent to the school on South Main Street in Evans Mills after district offices reported that someone “made threats to go to the school and shoot it up,” according to dispatchers.

The lockdown ended at 9:15 a.m., when police determined there was no one with a gun at the school.

Pfc. Larson has no apparent connection to the Evans Mills Primary School or the school district, a school official said.

Superintendent James Kettrick said the district was back to normal Thursday morning, except for an Evans Mills patrol car that was visible at the primary school.

Pfc. Larson is a construction engineer with the 630th Engineer Company, 7th Engineer Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade.

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