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College student studied mass shootings and kept guns in dorm room, police say

Teen allegedly planned mass shooting
Teen allegedly planned mass shooting 00:27

Police in North Carolina arrested a High Point University student after discovering guns and ammunition in his dorm room just a week into the fall semester. According to prosecutors, 19-year-old freshman Paul Steber had been studying mass shootings for nearly a year and planned to kill his roommate and himself if he didn't get into a fraternity. 

Steber was arrested Tuesday and charged with two felony counts of having a gun on campus and one charge of making threats of mass violence on campus, the High Point Police Department said. His bond was set at $2 million for the first two charges and $1 million for the third charge. 

Steber was in possession of two firearms, a 9mm semi-automatic pistol and a black powder/percussion double-barrel 12-gauge shotgun, police said. Campus security officers learned of the weapons, and university representatives contacted police.

"This incident illustrates the importance of the public reporting suspicious activity to authorities," police said in a statement. "Information from the public is often the critical first step in preventing acts of mass violence." 

Paul Steber High Point Police Department

Steber, who is from Boston, appeared in court Wednesday and was ordered held with no bond for up to ten days, during which he will receive a mental health evaluation.

Steber had been studying videos to learn how to carry out a mass shooting, Assistant District Attorney Lori Wickline said in court, the Associated Press reports.

"He told officers that he definitely had a plan, something that he had been thinking about since Christmas of last year," she said. "And he had been recently watching videos of the Charleston mass shooting down in South Carolina and other mass shootings so that he could learn what to do and what not to do."

Steber's father traveled to North Carolina from Massachusetts to attend the court hearing. 

"This is any parent's worst nightmare," defense attorney John Bryson said in court. "He's obviously very concerned about his son."

Just this week, there have been at least five incidents at schools in separate states where either a threat was made or guns and ammunition were found. In the wake of the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, authorities have been urging people to come forward if they are concerned about someone's suspicious behavior or threats. 

According to data from the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive, there have been more mass shootings than days so far this year.

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