WASECA, Minn. — The father of a 17-year-old boy who is accused of plotting to kill his family and attack his southern Minnesota school said Wednesday there were no signs his son was troubled.
The father, who spoke with reporters after a hearing for his son in Waseca, also said he does not believe his son would have carried out the plan.
"I wish he would've felt he could've asked for help," the father said.
The Associated Press generally does not identify juveniles accused of crimes and is not naming the teen's father in order to protect his son's identity.
The teen was arrested in April after authorities said they found him in a storage locker with bomb-making materials. They also found guns, explosives and a 180-page journal that outlined a plan to kill his family, set a fire to divert first responders, then go to Waseca Junior and Senior High School and "kill as many students as he could," according to court documents.
He was charged in juvenile court with multiple counts of attempted first-degree murder, possessing explosive or incendiary devices and criminal damage to property.
Waseca County District Court Judge Gerald Wolf ordered Wednesday that the journal and documents that reference details in the journal be sealed for now. A hearing on whether the teen should be certified to stand trial as an adult was set for July 30. Defense attorneys plan to argue that the certification process is unconstitutional.
The teen, who is in the state juvenile prison in Red Wing, nodded to his parents when he entered the courtroom. He spoke clearly and was composed as he answered brief questions from the judge.
After the hearing, the boy's father said he didn't know his son had a storage locker — which police say was rented by a friend's mother — explosives or a diary, and he doesn't believe the boy was attempting to murder anyone. He said the guns in the house were his.
"We don't not pay attention to our son. We do love him. We try to monitor his activities, but we try to give him also some space and respect. Obviously it was more than it should've been — but there were no signs (he) was having any problems," the father said.
The father said his son is doing well under the circumstances but is seeing a counselor only on a limited basis. He said he's working on getting his son the professional help he needs so he can move on with his life.
He also said he's proud of the way his son has handled himself, and that while police believed his son was a threat, he doesn't believe the teen would have actually carried out the attack.
"I don't see how he would've ever been able to actually do that, no matter how much he would've liked to have entertained that idea," the father said.