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Moore-Mickens student plotted school shooting, police say

DADE CITY — A cryptic MySpace message and reports of a detailed map with "shooting staging areas" landed a 16-year-old boy in the county's juvenile detention center on felony charges Wednesday.

The Dade City Police Department arrested George Paul Adams, a student at Moore-Mickens Education Center in Dade City, and accused him of threatening to kill his classmates and "shoot up the school."

The boy was angry because he had been held back a grade, officials said.

Adams allegedly ripped a school evacuation map off the wall during his fifth-period art class and highlighted the office, cafeteria and classrooms as shooting targets. He showed the map to other students and told them he was going to bring a gun to school and shoot everyone, according to the arrest report.

"What gave us the most credibility was one of the witnesses stayed home from school (Wednesday) because he thought it was going to happen," said Dade City police Chief Ray Velboom.

The department was unable to recover the map.

Steven Cox, principal at Moore-Mickens, would not give out much information on Adams, citing confidentiality laws. Cox also didn't get the chance to spend time with the boy.

"He was here at school for five days," Cox said. "I didn't know him very well."

Dade City's Moore-Mickens Education Center offers vocational training programs, exceptional and adult education classes and accelerated coursework for high school students behind in their classes. Cox could not say which curriculum Adams participated in, or where he attended school before Moore-Mickens.

On his MySpace page, Adams identified himself as a "hippy," and wrote "F--- THE WOR WY CANT WE ALL GET ALONG."

On Monday, Adams wrote in a blog, "I really really hate every one at school thay mare me want to do wut I did last year but really kill."

In November, Adams was arrested, accused of making a false report and disrupting a function at Zephyrhills High School, where he was a freshman. The Zephyrhills Police Department would not release details of that arrest because he was a minor. No charges were ever filed.

Zephyrhills High principal Gerri Painter would not say what happened that day.

"It did not involve a weapon or threats," she said. "His guardian withdrew him shortly after the event."

Adams lived with his grandparents in Zephyrhills. They could not be reached Thursday. The Dade City Police Department said officers found 28 guns at the grandparents' Camden Avenue home.

"They weren't his, but that doesn't mean he couldn't have gotten access to them," Velboom said.

Moore-Mickens students reported Adams to the school staff after they saw the map and heard his plan.

It's unclear whether Adams would have followed through with his plot. To be sure, authorities said it was better for the students to report his threats than wait and find out.

"The heroes in this thing are the kids who came forward with this information," Velboom said. "They had the guts to tell somebody."

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Helen Anne Travis can be reached at htravis@sptimes.com or (813) 435-7312.

Moore-Mickens student plotted school shooting, police say 08/28/08 [Last modified: Sunday, August 31, 2008 9:20am]
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