19-year-old planned multiple mass shootings, did ‘recon’ at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, officials say

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Police officers pulled over a 19-year-old recent graduate from Okeechobee High School because the headlight on his truck was out. Then they found handwritten pages detailing plans to kill everyone at his high school.

Henry Horton IV, of Okeechobee, was arrested Thursday by Palm Beach County Sheriff’s detectives after they uncovered his plans for mass killings at multiple locations, according to a probable cause affidavit, discovering that he had done “recon” at two targets in Parkland, including Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Asked why he would attack Stoneman Douglas, the site of a school massacre that killed 17 and injured 17 in 2018, the affidavit says, Horton replied, “for attention or fame.”

Horton is now charged with written threats to kill or do harm. He was being held Friday in the Palm Beach County jail on $1 million bond, court records show. Should he be released, he will be placed on house arrest with a monitor.

The investigation into Horton began the night of Sept. 19, when Jupiter police officers pulled him over because of the passenger’s side headlight was out on his pickup truck.

Officers asked if he would consent to a search, which he did, the affidavit says.

Officers found handwritten papers with plans to purchase guns and then “kill everyone at OHS” with them, a bong with burnt residue, and three filet knives, according to the affidavit.

Agreeing to speak to the officers without a lawyer, Horton detailed his plans to kill 15 people at his former high school, Okeechobee High, on his 22nd birthday in 2026, including an administrator, then to go on a stabbing spree at a Miami church, according to the affidavit. He said he wanted to be killed by police afterward.

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Horton told the officers that he was having several thoughts about mass killings, and that he had admitted himself into a medical facility in Virginia for a mental health evaluation for similar thoughts.

The officers took Horton into custody under Florida’s Baker Act, a provision of Florida law allowing people to be held at a designated institution for up to 72 hours if they are believed to pose a threat to themselves or someone else. He was taken to JFK North Hospital in West Palm Beach for a mental health evaluation.

At the facility, he told a PBSO detective that he had been driving in Palm Beach County when he was stopped because he was on his way to the El Rey church in Miami to do “recon” for the attack he was planning there.

When the detective asked him why, he said he wanted to do something violent because his stepmother had kicked him out of the house. He had written a manifesto, which was in his truck when he was stopped.

Asked if he had done recon anywhere else, Horton told the detective that he had gone to a church in Parkland near Stoneman Douglas High a few weeks ago, according to the affidavit. His truck was spotted in the area on Sept. 11, the affidavit says.

A few weeks before that, he admitted, he had gone to the Parkland high school itself for “recon,” watching people outside on a school day and thinking “hmm, interesting.”

The detective searched his phone, finding notes detailing different mass killing plans and Google searches of “how much is an AK47.” In messages with a friend, Horton also revealed plans to kill his stepmother.

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“She kicked me out for telling her my honest thoughts,” he wrote. “Now I suffer in Florida in the middle of nowhere.”


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