Police in Florida said they arrested a student Thursday, hours after he threatened to carry out a mass shooting at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

John Hagins, 19, was arrested outside his apartment after Daytona Beach police said it received a tip from two other students who claimed Hagins told them on Snapchat that he wanted to “enact a Columbine,” a reference to the 1999 mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado, according to Chief Jakari Young.

"By the grace of God, those two students came forward and thwarted that plan," Young said at a press briefing. "By the grace of God, they came forward and prevented Embry-Riddle Aeronautical from being the next national media story with regards to a mass shooting on that campus."

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John Hagins. (Daytona Beach Police Department)


Police were waiting to receive a search warrant to enter his apartment when Hagins stepped outside, allowing them to grab him, Young said.

Inside his backpack, officers found a collapsible Kel Tec SUB2000 rifle, six magazines, and ammunition, Young said. He added that Hagins planned to stop by the gun range before making his way to the university campus on a day when the school was holding finals.

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Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young holds the gun John Hagins was going to use to enact a school shooting at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Daytona Beach Police Department

Police determined Hagins was failing in school and had at least one final on Thursday, he added.

Young said the first thing he thought of when he received the tip from students was the recent Oxford High School shooting in Michigan on Nov. 30. He said the quick actions of the students reinforce the message of "if you see something, say something" and how most shootings happen because someone knows something but fails to speak up.

"So the credit truly goes to those two students that stepped up, came forward, and brought this to our attention," Young said.


Police are searching Hagins's apartment for more weapons. Hagins has confessed to his statements of wanting to “enact a Columbine," Young said.

Hagins will be held under no bond status for three charges, including written threats to injure or kill, terrorism, and attempted first-degree homicide, according to DBP Public Information officer Messod Bendayan. His first court appearance is set to be at 1:30 p.m. on Friday.

The school sent out an email saying Hagins is being held without bail, according to WFLA. The email also said a lockdown at the university was unnecessary, but “out of an abundance of caution, increased security protocols will be maintained on campus."