Keith Simons, a 13-year-old boy from Ohio who killed himself in a middle school bathroom, had more sinister intentions, police say. Writings on his cell phone say he was planning a school shooting and admired the Columbine killers. Simons wrote that he wanted to leave a “lasting impression on the world,” according to authorities.
The teenage boy considered his middle school an “easy target” and wanted to leave a “stain in American history,” according to the writings he left behind. He was a 7th grader at Jackson Memorial Middle School in Massillon, Ohio. Heavy has also unearthed disturbing Facebook and Instagram posts of Simons that show a public fixation with knives and guns.
Instead of shooting others, for reasons that remain unclear, Simons turned the gun on himself, although he made it inside the school building with “a backpack filled with bottle rockets, a lighter, batteries, an aerosol can and about 80 rounds of ammunition for the rifle,” reported CantonRep.com. The self-inflicted shooting unfolded not long after the Florida school shooting took the lives of 17 students and staff. The police chief is now using the case to urge parents to lock up their guns.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Simons Created an ‘Eight-Step Plan of Attack’ & Expressed Admiration for Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold
The police investigation revealed chilling information that authorities found on Simons’ cell phone. According to a press release from the Jackson Township Police Department in Stark County, Ohio, they unearthed “some disturbing documentation on Simons’ phone involving an ‘admiration’ for the Columbine shooters along with an eight-step plan of ‘attack’ at Jackson Memorial Middle School.” The discovered documentation contained entries from February 14, 2018 through February 20, 2018, said police.
Police revealed the surprise development that Simons was planning a school shooting in a news conference on March 1, 2018.
The police press release contains a transcript of some of the spelling and grammar error-riddled comments authorities say they found on the phone of the middle school student:
“I wanna leve a lasting impression on the world and I Keith M. Simons also wants to leve a lasting impression on the world.”
“I look in to those scared little britches eyes before I kill them there’s now I’ll have followers because I’m so awesome I know someone will follow me just like I followed Eric Harris and Dyland Klebolt’s me and them want close to the same thing. It’s going to be fun… They say school shootings are horrible but they don’t think like us like me Eric and Dylan…” (Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were the Columbine High School shooters.)
“…I’m going to die doing it. I hate those people, when they interview my parents and ask how they didn’t see the signs they should know it’s not them it’s me and it’s because of how I see the world… I’d hurt and destroy something bigger but my schools an easy target.”
“….this will be bigger than anything this country’s ever seen… I’ve been planning this for a few weeks and thought about it a few months, I will never be forgotten I’ll be a stain in American history and the Simons history, it’s going to be so mutch fun. They won’t expect a thing.”
Police said that the documentation from Simons’ phone leads them to believe that he “intended on conducting a school shooting at Jackson Memorial Middle School.”
2. Simons Posted Photos of Knives & a Gun on Social Media
Instagram and Facebook posts in Keith Simons’ name show a fixation with weaponry. In one photo, he appears to be firing a weapon. Other pictures are of knives and a gun. Some people from the school have commented or liked posts on the pages.
With a picture of a knife, he wrote on Instagram, “Got a new knew knife it was given to me so it was used.”
He shared a graphic from Five Finger Death Punch, which is a heavy metal band out of Las Vegas. With a photo of another knife, he wrote, “The handle to this knife kinda looks like my carpet.” With yet another photo of knives, he wrote, “Dope knives -Keith Simons.”
The profile picture for Simons on Facebook was a knife with the letter “K” on it.
One of the Instagram posts of the boy shows a scene from a violent videogame.
3. Simons Shot Himself to Death in the School Bathroom
On March 1, Chief Mark Brink, of the Jackson Township Police Department, issued a statement to the news media to provide “pertinent information regarding the investigation of last week’s shooting at Jackson Memorial Middle School.”
On Wednesday, February 21, 2018, Simons, a 7th grade student at Jackson Memorial Middle School died from a confirmed gunshot wound to the head that was self inflicted on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 in a school bathroom, his statement read.
“I think we should thank God every day whatever made him change his mind he did change his mind,” Brink said in a videotaped press conference. “But I don’t know that we’ll ever have an answer to that question.”
Police released a timeline that showed that at 7:10 a.m., Simons departed his home and “walked with a noticeable limp to the bus stop. Simons had a weapon concealed in his clothing.” Police know this because of surveillance video.
At about 7:44 a.m., Simons arrived at school and immediately proceeded to a male bathroom. Within a couple of minutes, he exited the bathroom with a black long gun in his hands that was identified by police as a .22 rifle. About four students were in the area but did not appear to notice Simons, the police chief said.
CantonRep.com also reported, “The Summit County Medical Examiner’s office on Thursday ruled the death a suicide and said the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head.”
No evidence “has been discovered to explain why Simons changed his mind from shooting others at the school to him retreating back into the bathroom where he took his own life,” police said. “What we do know is Simons had a fascination with school shooters, specifically the Columbine shooters, and he had access to a weapon.” Police said they have no knowledge that anyone else was involved or had knowledge of the plan but added “until all avenues are investigated we cannot rule out any possibility.”
According to The Associated Press, “Another boy who was in the restroom saw the gun and ran to tell school officials.”
4. Simons Was Born in Germany & Loved Nerf Battle & Video Games
The obituary for Keith M. Simons on Legacy.com says that the boy “passed away unexpectedly on February 24, 2018. He was born in Landstuhl, Germany, on July 29, 2004, to Chad M. and Misty N. (Fuston) Simons. Keith was a caring, quiet and gentle person. He enjoyed practical jokes, figuring out how things worked, archery, Nerf Battle and video games.”
He was also survived by his brother and sister and numerous other relatives, according to the obituary. The funeral was scheduled for March 3, 2018 in Jackson Township.
New Harmony Worship Center, where Keith was affiliated, wrote on Facebook three days before the Sheriff’s Department revelations on school shooting plans, “New Harmony Worship Center Funereal are being made Keith is at the coroners office still. The family donated his organs to 5 or more children that needed life saving surgeries. The mother and father are grieving as well as me and our church. a lot that has been reported in the news is not accurate. He is a 13 yrs boy who was a great kid who made a bad decision.”
One woman who knew Keith wrote on Facebook, “any family and friends that new Keith as the good funny kid he was, if you would like to pay your respects you can message me about it. Mistys wants anyone who new Keith to feel welcome. No drama.”
5. Simons’ Mother & Her Fiancee Are Active in Ministry at a Christian Church
The First Christian Church of Massillon, Ohio, shared a Facebook post on the family after Simons died but before the school shooting angle was released by authorities. “Misty and Tommy have been active in ministry at FCC for over a year. We’ve come to know and love them. Please continue to keep them and their family in your prayers,” the post said of Keith’s mother and her fiancee.
In January, Misty shared a meme on Facebook that read, “Me trying to be Mom, not lose my sh*t, excel in my career, maintain a social life, drink enough water, exercise, text people back, stay alive and remain sane…” Some of her Facebook photos show her three children.
In September, she wrote, “I was privileged to be a part of the military community and have so many friends who served or are still serving. We have lost friends to this war. I have seen injuries worse than the average person can imagine, those same injured men and women irritable cause they just want to be patched up and sent back. I’ve seen veterans close to tears because they want to stand for the anthem but are physically unable. I’ve also seen veterans unable to stand who had the look of complete joy in their eyes when their brothers in arms helped them stand for the anthem.”
Misty added, “I have seen families utterly broken receiving the news that their father, husband, brother, sister, child is never coming home. I could go on and on but I’m sure many have already stopped reading because they are ‘tired of the politics.’
I will stand every time the national anthem is played.”
Before the news broke, people offered condolences on social media for Keith. One woman wrote on Facebook, “love you so much Keith. We all love you so much. The family will always stand by you because we all new how amazing you are in your own little ways.”
Another woman wrote, “Rest in peace baby. Loved very much ❤️”
The fiancee of Keith’s mother said on Facebook, “I have been trying to wake up from this nightmare all day…” He also posted a photo on February 16 of a T-shirt that reads, “Dear God, Why do you allow so much violence in our schools? Signed, a concerned student. Dear concerned student, I’m not allowed in schools. God.”
According to The Associated Press, “Police said Simons rode a bus to school and concealed the gun under his clothes. He also had a backpack with extra ammunition, bottle rockets and batteries.”
The police chief, Brink, said during the news conference, “We need parents to be parents. We need them to lock up guns.”
“We need to come together and we need to find solutions,” Brink added. “Not try to point fingers, not try to find fault. We all have a responsibility in this. We all have something that we can do to make our schools safer and make our community safer. We need to do that.
According to Fox8 Cleveland, Superintendent Christopher DiLoreto answered questions at a School Board meeting right after the shooting occurred. “He assured parents that a detailed and multi-layered security plan had been in place since the Sandy Hook school shooting and it was properly executed,” the television station reported.
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