The West junior's tip led to arrest of Grant Acord
Truman Templeton, the 17-year-old West Albany student who told his mother that a classmate could be planning an attack at his school, told a TV news interviewer on Tuesday that the tipping point for him was that “school is supposed to be a safe and secure place.”
Portland’s KATU interviewed Templeton on Tuesday afternoon.
Templeton told KATU that the suspect, 17-year-old Grant Acord, had talked about making bombs, drew diagrams and even showed a bomb to a mutual friend.
“It was overwhelming watching video of the bomb squads wearing hazmat suits,” Templeton said. “It was very serious. It could have been a lot worse.”
Templeton said there had been a pep rally at the school Thursday and he was afraid Acord might have carried out his plans at that time, so he skipped the rally.
When Templeton arrived home from school, his mother noticed he seemed nervous and spoke to him about it.
She then confided in Shannon Lewis, a family friend who has been a juvenile probation officer for Linn County for almost 14 years. Lewis told the Democrat-Herald she assured Templeton’s mother the information would be relayed.
“I said don’t worry, I’ll take care of this, I know exactly who to call,” Lewis said.
She contacted the Albany Police Department’s tip line, and an officer there put her in touch with the 911 dispatch center.
Acord was arrested later that night at his father’s house in North Albany. Evidence of bomb-making and two bombs were found at his mother’s home in the 2600 block of Raymond Court N.W.
Acord was lodged at the Linn Benton Juvenile Detention Center and was arraigned by video in Benton County Circuit Court on Tuesday afternoon.
He is facing 19 separate charge in connection with the incident. Acord did not enter a plea and his bond was set at $2 million.
Sweeps of West Albany High School were made Thursday and special K-9 teams swept the school and outbuildings Friday. No explosives were found.
Lewis said she told the dispatchers exactly what Templeton had relayed to his mother: “Here’s my friend who says he’s wanting to make bombs and he’s wanting to blow up the school. I don’t want to go to the assembly. I’m scared,” she recalled.
She said she passed along Templeton’s assertion that he had seen two bombs at Acord’s house, that he appeared to be obsessed with the 1999 school shooting at Columbine High School and that he’d asked Templeton and other friends to film him with his weapons before his attack.
“He (Templeton) wasn’t asked to participate,” Lewis stressed. “It was, ‘Film me with my weapons.’ That’s the information I got.”
Lewis said her first instinct was to call West Albany’s school resource officer, but it was early Thursday evening at this point and the school was closed. So she called the police department and chose the outgoing message option about reporting a crime in progress.
At the time, Lewis said, she thought Acord had an unhealthy obsession with the Colorado high school shooting and might benefit from some mental health counseling. She said she was shocked by the details officers uncovered.
“My emphasis, if anything, is just to say, if you hear something, report it. Follow through,” Lewis said. “I’m glad someone felt comfortable enough to come to me.”