A North Carolina university student has been arrested on charges of bringing guns on campus and threatening mass violence.
High Point University issued a statement Tuesday saying there was no immediate campus threat. The statement says campus security confiscated two firearms from a student after a classmate reported him, and the gun owner was removed from campus. No one was hurt, and the case was turned over to local police.
Police identified the student as Paul Steber, a 19-year-old from Boston. He was being held Thursday on two counts of having guns on educational property and one of threatening mass violence on educational property.
Steber allegedly confessed to having a timeline "to kill people," NBC affiliate WXII reported. The local district attorney said Steber wanted to join a fraternity and wanted to stop being an outcast.
High Point Police Chief Ken Shultz told The High Point Enterprise the case "is an example of how it was done right" because a fellow student reported the guns so police could intervene.
The university said that Steber was "removed from campus" in a statement noting that state law prohibts anyone from carrying weapons on educational campuses.
Steber had been watching videos to learn how to carry out a mass shooting, Assistant District Attorney Lori Wickline said in court.
"He told officers that he definitely had a plan, something that he had been thinking about since Christmas of last year," she said.
She later added: "And he had been recently watching videos of the Charleston mass shooting down in South Carolina and other mass shootings so that he could learn what to do and what not to do."
He had bought the guns within the past week and planned to shoot himself and his roommate if Steber didn't get into a fraternity and the roommate did, Wickline said. She said it wasn't clear if he bought the guns legally.
She said Steber didn't appear to have any criminal history.
The court set his bond on the firearms charges at $2 million.
His father, who came down from Massachusetts, sat in court for the brief hearing where Steber appeared via video link.
"This is any parent's worst nightmare," defense attorney John Bryson said in court. "He's obviously very concerned about his son."
Bryson declined further comment in an email after the hearing.
"It felt at times like he could be a little bit unhinged," said Kyle McFatter, who graduated with Steber at Newman Preparatory School in Boston's Back Bay. "We believed that if something horrible like that was to happen to our school that he would be the one to commit that action."
Prosecutors say Steber had been watching mass shootings to learn what to do and admitted to planning the crime since December, when he was still in high school.
"It was scary to learn that he had these plans," said McFatter. "And it was even scarier to learn that he came up with these plans during the time he spent at the high school I was at."