Medford Police believes other schools were targeted in alleged ‘mass casualty event’ plot

MEDFORD, Ore — A former South Medford custodian is in jail after Medford Police says he planned on carrying out a ‘mass casualty event’ at the school.

24-year-old Kristopher Clay was arrested Wednesday after a two-week investigation. The suspect walked into the Medford Police Department’s lobby on July 20th, and requested to speak with an officer. He was then transported to the behavioral unit at Asante, after allegedly telling officers he had homicidal thoughts.

Detectives later seized several guns, ammunition, tactical gear, and writings at different locations throughout Jackson county. Medford Police says their investigation indicated that Clay made, “significant steps” to carry out a mass shooting.

“Everything was culminating to the point where the only next step would be the actual shooting event, ” MPD Lieutenant Mike Budreau said in a press conference Thursday. “South Medford [High School] was one of the targets and we have reason to believe there were some other targets.”

Budreau says no one, in particular, was targeted by the suspect. South Medford H.S. was a target of convenience because he worked there.

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Prior to his arrest, Clay did not have a criminal record.  However, a 2019 court order prohibits him from possessing guns which police said he was able to get through unknown channels.

He passed his background check and was hired at the school in February of this year according to the Medford School District.

The mental health background does not come up on the background check, because it checks for a criminal record,” Natalie Hurd, communications director with Medford School District said. “That check came back clean and it is something that we intend to look at.” 

During his arraignment Thursday, Clay initially pleaded guilty to numerous charges including attempted murder in the second degree. However, the judge wanted him to speak to an attorney first, citing, “concern based on preliminary information received.”

Budreau says individuals that were interviewed, revealed that Clay made concerning statements towards them, but didn’t believe it was serious. Budreau says it serves as a reminder for people to report any potential threats, as this situation could have escalated.

“Had he not come forward, who knows if we would have ever found out before the subject would have acted.” said Budreau.

The case remains under investigation.

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Anthony Carter
Anthony Carter is a reporter for NBC5 News. He grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and graduated from Elizabethtown College in 2019. Anthony started his career as a print journalist, covering New York sports and the NBA Draft. He then started his own sports podcast and website covering the Arena Football League. Anthony moved to the Rogue Valley in 2019 as a news producer before joining the NBC5 News family. Anthony likes to workout at the gym, play basketball, and root for his Atlanta Hawks and New York Jets. Want to connect with Anthony? send him an email: [email protected]
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