Waseca Teen Charged with Attempted Murder in Playground Explosives Case

Updated: 05/01/2014 3:59 PM KSTP.com

Photo: Courtesy of Dave Matthys
Photo: Courtesy of Dave Matthys

Authorities have filed attempted murder and explosives charges against a Waseca teenager.
The teen, identified at 17-year-old John La Due, was arrested around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday as the result of an investigation into three small explosive devices discovered at a school playground in late March.
La Due was charged in juvenile court Thursday with four counts of attempted first-degree murder, six counts of possessing explosive devices and two counts of first-degree criminal damage to property. The juvenile petition alleges he obtained weapons and explosives with the intent to kill his father, mother, sister and a school liaison officer.
He was arrested Tuesday night after the Waseca Police Department and Bloomington Bomb Squad executed search warrants at a home and a storage facility in Waseca.    

A law enforcement source close to the investigation tells KSTP  the teen told investigators his plan was to kill his family, create a diversion to get first responders out of the area of the school. Then the source said he told investigators he was going to go to the school and set off devices, and take out as many as possible before killing himself when confronted by law enforcement.   

More than five handguns and assault rifles were found in the teen's bedroom, along with explosive devices and ammunition, the source said. More devices and chemicals were found in the storage locker where he had recently started taking his arsenal in preparation of the assault, the source tells KSTP.

Three small explosive devices were found on the Hartley Elementary School playground in March. Two of them were found detonated, one of which was found inside a toy. The third explosive failed to ignite.

Waseca police believe the small mini-bombs were homemade.

Police say no one was hurt, but parents were upset at the delay in information after the devices were found.

The Waseca Police Department and Waseca Public Schools said at a press conference, because of the vigilance of the Waseca community a ttragedy was avoided.

The incident is still under investigation, and anyone with information is asked to call the Waseca Police Department at 507-835-9720.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.