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July 22, 2014

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Teen tells police he idolized Columbine gunman

WASECA, Minn. — A Minnesota teenager accused of planning to massacre his family and high school classmates mocked the attacks on the Boston Marathon and Sandy Hook Elementary School as "pretty lame" and "pathetic" and said he idolized one of the Columbine gunmen, according to recordings of his police interrogation.

The 17-year-old was arrested in April after authorities said they found him with bomb-making materials in a storage locker at his school in Waseca, 70 miles south of Minneapolis.

In the two recordings released Tuesday, the teen calmly described his plan to "dispose of" his family, set a fire as a diversion and use explosives and guns to attack his school. He said he thought it would be "fun" and that he was following his idol, Eric Harris, who alongside Dylan Klebold slaughtered 13 people and injured 26 more before committing suicide at Columbine High School in 1999.

The teen told police he was not targeting anyone specific at the school.

"I would have taken anyone out, I didn't care," he told detectives. He insisted, though, that he had only wanted to kill older students because he didn't want to be remembered in the same way as Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza, who killed 20 elementary school children in his December 2012 attack.

"That's just pathetic," he said. "Have some dignity."

He told officers he planned to use two pressure cooker bombs with explosives three times more powerful than the ones used in the 2013 Boston Marathon attack, according to the recordings.

"I thought three casualties was pretty lame," he said.

He planned to put one pressure cooker inside a recycling bin and detonate it during lunch when lots of students would be around. He would detonate a second bomb when students were running away, he told investigators. Then he would throw Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs, and "when the SWAT comes I would destroy myself," he said.

The teen said he had been planning the attack for more than a year and jotted it down in a notebook that he kept locked in his room.

However, his father told reporters last week that he does not believe his son would have carried out the plan and that there were no signs the teen was troubled.

The teen was charged with four counts of attempted murder, two counts of first-degree damage to property and six counts of possession of a bomb by someone under 18. The Associated Press generally does not identify juveniles accused of crimes. Prosecutors are trying to have the case moved to adult court.

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