Orange County man sentenced for threatening Washingtonville High School shooting

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WHITE PLAINS – A 20-year-old Campbell Hall man was sentenced to five years in federal prison for threatening to carry out a school shooting at Washingtonville High School while he was senior there in 2018.

Brendan Vaughan pled guilty to a three-count information on December 3, 2019 and was sentenced this Thursday, March 4.

According to information, court filings, and statements made during court proceedings, he posted a number of comments in a social media chat group that he intended to carry out a school shooting on the final day of school. He even drated a kill list.

After he was visited by law enforcement toward the end of May 2018, he continued his threatening behavior by sending threatening messages to a classmate about committing a school shooting and asked that classmate “not to go to the cops.”

In August 2018, Vaughan sent a number of additional messages on social media in which he threatened an imminent attack in Washingtonville.  Specifically, on successive days, he posted:

  • a message that said: “I regret nothing,”
  • a graphic that included the text “The 845” (that is, the designated area code for Hudson Valley) and a series of 15 gun and bomb emojis,
  • a video depicting a red plastic gas container and pool chemicals with the text: “[smiley face emoji] Plans [smiley face emoji] bang.bang,” and,
  • immediately following the posting of the pool chemical video, a video of himself in a car in which he was turning the ignition on and clutching the steering wheel.

After Vaughan was detained in March 2019, he continued his threatening behavior, compiling another kill list that included classmates, family members, medical personnel, and the FBI agent and Assistant U.S. Attorney assigned to his case.

Vaughan also took preliminary steps toward carrying out an attack including compiling a kill list, compiling lists of his “favorite” school shooters, researching pipe bombs on the Internet, accessing a website to purchase a firearm, and composing diary expressing his desire for imminent “revenge.” He also told a law enforcement officer he intended to kill a specific classmate.

In addition to his prison sentence, Vaughan will be on supervised release for three years.