WVU student who allegedly threatened mass shooting waives hearing

MORGANTOWN — The WVU student who allegedly threatened a mass shooting during class postponed his preliminary hearing Sept. 6.

Zachary Ryan Johnson, 21, of Bruceton Mills, signed a waiver, allowing his preliminary hearing to be rescheduled.

He was scheduled to appear before Magistrate Sandy Holepit in Monongalia County Magistrate Court.

Johnson’s attorney, Mark Gaydos, requested a bond modification so Johnson could travel to Uniontown, Pa., to visit his elderly grandmother.

Robert Zak, prosecutor, said the state opposed that request due to the nature of the charges.

Holepit asked if the grandmother could come visit instead and Gaydos said to his understanding she couldn’t.

Holepit denied the bond modification, citing the seriousness of the charge and said she didn’t see good cause to approve it.

Johnson is charged with making terrorist threats.

He was arraigned by Magistrate Darris Summers and as a condition of bond he is not allowed on WVU property. Holepit did not change that condition.

During an Aug. 23 morning class at the WVU Health Sciences Center,  Johnson 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.

WVU Spokesperson April Kaull previously told The Dominion Post that 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.

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.

Tweet Will Dean @WillDean_DP; wdean@domininionpost.com

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William Dean The Dominion Post