WASECA PLOT: Father insists son showed 'no signs' before arrest - KMSP-TV

WASECA PLOT: Father insists son showed 'no signs' before arrest

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WASECA, Minn. (KMSP) - 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 before he was arrested near a storage locker that police say contained dangerous materials.

John LaDue's father spoke with reporters after a hearing for his son was held in Waseca, and he stated that he does not believe his son would have carried out the plan detailed in an 180-page journal.

"I wish he would've felt he could've asked for help," the father said.

LaDue was arrested in April after authorities said they found him in a storage locker with bomb-making materials. They also found guns, explosives and the documents 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.

MORE: Waseca teen's notebook reveals mass murder plot

The teen was charged in juvenile court with multiple counts of attempted first-degree murder, possessing explosive or incendiary devices and criminal damage to property. He entered a "denial of charges" in mid-May, which is the juvenile equivalent of a not-guilty plea. Nevertheless, he has been staying in a private room at a juvenile detention center in Red Wing while the proceedings continue.

On Wednesday, Waseca County District Court Judge Gerald Wolf ordered 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.

MORE: Adult certification study ordered for John LaDue

LaDue 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. He also insisted that he doesn't believe the boy was attempting to murder anyone. Furthermore, he said the cache of guns and ammunition found in the teen's room 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.

LaDue's father said his son is doing well under the circumstances but is seeing a counselor on a limited basis. Currently, the family is working on getting LaDue the professional help he needs so he can move on with his life, according to his father.

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.

Yet, the community members who reported LaDue as behaving suspiciously weren't so certain. They were credited by law enforcement with preventing an "unimaginable tragedy." Police also confirmed they found several dangerous bomb-making substances in the storage locker -- and a lot of it, at that.

MORE: Federal agents confirm dangerous chemicals found

"From what he had available to him, he would have been able to construct a significant number of devices -- or one large device that would have been greater in force than what you had, say, in the Boston bombing," Scott Sweetow explained.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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