Former Custodian Arrested on Accusations of Planning “Mass Casualty Event”

A former high-school custodian from Medford, Ore., has been arrested and faces charges including attempted second-degree murder after he “made significant steps to carry out a mass casualty event,” according to officials. Kristopher Clay, 24, turned himself into the Medford Police Department on July 20 and told an officer that he was “having homicidal thoughts with plans to carry them out.” Clay is currently in the Jackson County Jail on a $2-million bail after his initial court appearance on Thursday, Aug. 5.

Clay faces charges including attempted first-degree assault, attempted second-degree murder, two counts of unlawful use of a weapon, two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm and tampering with physical evidence, according to a Medford Police Department news release.

After Clay turned himself into police, he was taken to the hospital’s behavior health unit with protective custody. Police gathered search warrants for three residences and discovered ammunition, weapons and tactical gear, according to officials, as well as written materials that MPD Lt. Mike Burdreau referred to as “journals, if you will, or manifestos.” Burdeau confirmed that the high school at which he worked was one of his targets.

Clay had been employed as a custodian at South Medford High School since February, and he has since been terminated, said Medford School District spokesperson Natalie Hurd.

MPD said that Clay has no known criminal convictions, but he is prohibited from legally owning firearms after a judge determined in 2019 that he was mentally ill. Officials have not provided details on how he allegedly obtained the weapons discovered by police.

District superintendent Bret Champion said that Clay passed a required criminal background check, a drug test, and reference check during the hiring process. However, the process does not include a mental health check, an oversight that Champion said the district plans to address. “We will take a look at the process and see where there are potential gaps,” he said.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning and Campus Security and Life Safety. He can be reached at MJones@1105media.com

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