KEY POINTS

  • Dylan Jarrell was sentenced to five years in prison and five years of supervised release for his plot to shoot up a high school in Kentucky
  • Jarrell was arrested in 2018 by the FBI and Kentucky police after multiple posts were found online containing mass shooting threats and references to previous mass shootings
  • Jarrell was in possession of an AR-15 rifle, a bump stock, extended magazines, ammo, and body armor at the time of his arrest

A Kentucky man was sentenced in federal court after pleading guilty to charges stemming from a 2018 plot to commit a mass shooting at his former high school.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the suspect, identified as Dylan Jarrell, was sentenced to serve five years in prison for the plot and another five years under supervised release. Jarrell pleaded guilty to charges of transmission of a threatening communication in interstate commerce, cyberstalking, false statements to the FBI, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

“Halted by the work of dedicated law enforcement professionals who confronted and stopped him, Dylan Jarrell was intent on committing horrific acts of violence on innocent people,” U.S. Attorney Robert M. Duncan, Jr. said in a press release. “The investigation conducted by KSP and FBI personnel almost certainly saved lives. 

The seriousness of Jarrell’s crimes and the danger he presented to the public certainly justify the sentence he received.”

Matthew W. Boyd, Jarrell’s attorney, has maintained his client did not have the “capacity” to commit the shooting. Boyd pointed to Jarrell’s struggle with depression, anxiety, and paranoid schizophrenia, which Boyd said was exacerbated by alcohol abuse, meant “his drive to commit to his criminal plans was weak at best.”

Jarrell’s plan came to the FBI’s attention in May of 2018 when an anonymous Reddit account made several posts threatening a school shooting. The FBI said investigators contacted Jarrell to speak about the posts, and he lied about his activity on social media.

As the FBI investigated, agents found more posts on Reddit message boards by Jarrell repeatedly referencing previous U.S. school shootings.

“RIP Dylan and Eric,” Jarrell wrote in one post referencing Columbine shooters Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris. Another post read: “I’m about to do it better than Cho,” about Virginia Tech mass shooter Seung-Hui Cho. He also threatened Shelby County High School, which Jarrell previously attended.

FBI and Kentucky police arrested Jarrell outside his home in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, in October 2018 while leaving in his pickup truck. Jarrell had an AR-15 rifle, a bump stock, large-capacity magazine, ammo, and body armor at the time of his arrest.

A subsequent search of his home found notebooks containing notes on previous shootings, plans, and a supply checklist for his own attempted shooting.

Courtroom This photo shows a view of the defendant's table in a courtroom closed due to budget cuts and layoffs, at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Los Angeles on March 16, 2009. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images