Fear, anger after Vermont teen accused of school shooting plot is released

Teen accused of school shooting plot is released

There is fear and anger in a Vermont town Friday night. A teenager who was arrested the day after the Parkland school massacre for allegedly planning an even bigger attack walked out of jail Friday.

As soon as Jack Sawyer was released from jail, arrested after detailing the rampage he planned at his former school, Vermont's Fair Haven Union High, 30 of the school's 300 kids took off for home in fear.  

Social studies teacher Julia Adams says it's a nightmare in Fair Haven.

"We have teachers that are struggling to make it through the a whole day teaching," Adams said. "We have kids that are having panic attacks in classes. We have kids whose parents are holding them at home."

Jack Sawyer WCAX

In his journal, Sawyer listed specific students and staff he wanted to kill in his journal. His bail was reduced when the state Supreme Court ruled "planning" in Vermont doesn't mean "attempting," and felony charges were dropped. Sawyer has to report for a psychological exam within 72 hours, but Friday night, he is free.

"The effect that this had overall has been enormous," Adams said. "It's affected every particle of life in Fair Haven High School."

So now it's up to police chief Bill Humphries and his four-man police department to protect this community and its schoolchildren.

 "For the rest of their lives they have to go through the woods, knowing there's a wolf chasing them," Humphries said. 

Jack Sawyer still faces two misdemeanors, which could mean up to three years in jail. But legal experts CBS News spoke with say that's unlikely.

  • Jim Axelrod
    Jim Axelrod

    Jim Axelrod is the chief investigative correspondent and senior national correspondent for CBS News, reporting for "CBS This Morning," the "CBS Evening News," "CBS Sunday Morning," and other CBS News broadcasts.