(Video) Vigilant student derails potential mass shooting

Leonardtown, MD- “See something, say something”—that’s the message from St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron, St. Mary’s County Public Schools (SMCPS) superintendent Dr. Scott Smith and State’s Attorney Richard Fritz.

That message may have stopped a school tragedy right here in St. Mary’s County.

On Friday, Feb. 16, the sheriff’s office was notified that two male students at Leonardtown High School could be plotting a school shooting. According to the concerned citizen, the two teens, ages 15 and 16, were overheard talking on the school bus about bringing guns to school. Their comments included how their tactical experience would result in a higher death toll than the recent school shooting in Parkland, FL and how they were “too smart to be caught.”

News of this threat was not taken lightly and members of the SMCPS Safety and Security team quickly alerted the sheriff’s department. Deputies immediately did a home visit and questioned the two suspects. “Shortly after midnight, deputies went to the homes of both students and spoke with the students and their parents,” Cameron said. The students denied making the threat. “The parents assured the deputies the students had no access to firearms.”

Later that same day, deputies returned to the Leonardtown home where the 15 year old suspect lives with a search and seizure warrant. Inside the home, investigators found 39 unsecured firearms, including handguns in the nightstands of both the 15 year old suspect and his 14 year old brother. David William Fairfax, the father of the suspect, was arrested and charged with two counts of reckless endangerment, one count of access to a firearm by a minor and one count of illegal transfer of a firearm.

On Tuesday, Feb. 20, SMCSO detectives met with the state’s attorney, FBI, ATF and the board of education and a second search and seizure warrant was issued for Fairfax’s home. Police seized an additional 25 firearms, as well as gun parts, ammunition, powder and suppressors. Fairfax had a Federal Firearms License (FFL) which permitted him to sell firearms from his home.

Cameron credited Corporal Angela Delozier with her help during the investigation. Delozier is the school resource officer at Leonardtown High School. She has raised concerns in the past about the suspects’ social media posts, including pictures of them with firearms. Delozier had addressed her concerns with parents at the time.

Smith couldn’t comment on whether either suspect had disciplinary problems in school in the past.

Delozier also interviewed every student who was on the bus to learn what they may have heard and the school provided investigators with video from the bus security camera.

Fritz said the state’s attorney’s office is taking this case very seriously. He also credited the other students on the bus for their vigilance and for speaking up. “If you see something, say something because we cannot do this without you.”
The two teenage boys were both charged with threats of mass violence.

After the press conference, spoke with both Smith and Cameron about the investigation. Smith said a letter was sent home to parents at Leonardtown High School to inform them of the investigation. “The letter included how the school responded to the threat and that’s all of the information we could give at that time because we didn’t want to compromise the investigation.”

“The biggest part of our mission was to separate the suspects from any firearms,” Cameron explained. “Now we can slow down and investigate thoroughly.”

When asked if the two juveniles could be charged as adults, Cameron said that is something that could be reviewed as the investigation continues but it’s ultimately up to the state’s attorney.

Cameron said this threat was not connected to the two threats that targeted Great Mills High School and Esperanza Middle School on Wednesday, Feb. 21, but parents and students will notice an increase of patrols at schools throughout the county over the next few days. “We hope it gives parents a sense of security and it’s a potential deterrent.”

SMCPS has added a “See something, say something” tab on the front page of their website where citizens can alert school security to potential threats. Smith said it is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Contact Joy Shrum at

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