Man arrested after allegedly saying he wanted to kill classmates

MORGANTOWN — A WVU student is charged with making terrorist threats after he allegedly said he wanted to get his gun and “kill everybody” during class.

WVU Police charged Zachary Ryan Johnson, of Bruceton Mills, with the crime.

During a Thursday morning class at the Health Sciences Center, the 21-year-old allegedly said “I honestly feel like going home and getting my gun and killing everybody,” and “I seriously just feel like doing a mass shooting,” according to a criminal complaint.

Police were notified about 4:30 p.m. Thursday by two victims who believed Johnson was serious and were in fear for their safety, the complaint stated.

April Kaull, WVU spokesperson, said students who overheard the comments notified the department chair, who followed protocol and notified the Office of Student Conduct and Office of Student Life, which led to Johnson’s arrest.

Chief of University Police W.P. Chedester said statements like the ones allegedly made by Johnson are never considered to be jokes.

“When statements like these are brought to our attention, we act quickly. We don’t take any chances, and that’s how we responded in this case,” he said.

Johnson did not have a gun on him or in his vehicle at the time of his arrest. He told officers he did not own a gun or have access to one, Chedester said.

Johnson was arraigned before Magistrate Sandy Holepit in Monongalia County Magistrate Court Friday. Johnson is currently out on $50,000 bond. As a condition of bond, Johnson is not allowed on WVU property.

Making terrorist threats is a felony punishable by one to three years in prison and/or a fine of $5,000-$25,000, according to the West Virginia criminal code.

Follow William Dean on Twitter @WillDean_DP. Email wdean@dominionpost.com.

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