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Continued: Waseca teen accused in school shooting plot had been planning for months

  • Article by: PAT PHEIFER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: May 10, 2014 - 9:25 PM

“Now,” she said, “it’s kind of disturbing.”

Cliff Keyes, the single father of boys ages 15 and 16, said he would hear the “thwacks” or “thuds” of LaDue’s axes hitting the tree. The teen didn’t socialize with the Keyes boys, but his parents seemed to be nice people, he said.

LaDue’s mother and father were in court when he made his first appearance Thursday morning, said prosecutor Brenda Miller, an assistant county attorney. A plea was not entered into the record, she said.

‘Homicidal threats’

After LaDue’s arrest he was held at Many Rivers juvenile detention center. The center refused to readmit him after the court hearing because he made “homicidal threats” against staff members there, Miller said. While being admitted, LaDue told a staff member that he wanted to wrap a telephone cord around her neck and strangle her, Miller said.

LaDue now is being held at the Red Wing detention center, the most secure juvenile center in the state. His next court appearance is set for May 12.

At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Lee was asked about reaction within LaDue’s school.

“I do think that people are in shock,” he said. “I know the staff is. I’m sure the students are as well.”

But, he added, “We have escaped what could have been a horrific experience. We can either believe this occurred because of a lucky break or, as I do, choose to believe that God was looking out for all of us.”


Staff writer Mary Lynn Smith contributed to this report.

Pat Pheifer • 952-746-3284


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  • John David LaDue. From Facebook.

  • Students, parents and residents listened as Waseca police and school officials outlined the case against 17-year-old John David LaDue.

  • the boy: John David LaDue was described by his guitar teacher as a courteous kid, a nice kid who loved to play music.

  • The school: Police investigators said some bombs were found at this playground in March, as snow melted around the Hartley Elementary School playground.

  • The storage facility: A search warrant was issued to search this storage facility in Waseca in connection with the 17-year-old’s alleged plot to massacre relatives and schoolmates.

  • The home: The Waseca home of John David LaDue, where neighbors were concerned about him throwing knives and axes.

  • the target: The tree at the Waseca home of John David LaDue that he used for target practice with knives and axes.

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