LOCAL NEWS

‘Hero’ students at Utah State University may have prevented a disaster

Jun 8, 2018, 6:44 PM | Updated: 11:10 pm

LOGAN, Utah – Students at Utah State University may have averted a tragedy. When things weren’t adding up with a classmate, they did the right thing.

It’s a case where students did everything right. Even though their classmate became angry, they still reported his suspicious behavior to police.

Students at USU befriended 21-year-old Nicholas O’Connor, of San Jose, who was attending school there. But they soon noticed something wasn’t right.

“He wanted them to buy gun parts, and he was willing to pay for them so that he could go undetected, which is very disconcerting as a restricted person himself,” said Chief Mike Keuhn, Campus Police, Utah State University.

Authorities believe O’Connor wanted a “mini uzi.” When the students asked him about his intentions, his answers were equally worrisome: “Just simply, ‘Oh no, don’t worry. I’m not going to shoot you.’ And that’s very concerning in and of itself,” Keuhn said.

Campus police did some digging and found O’Connor was out on bail for vandalism and weapon charges in California. Last fall, he destroyed security cameras at Willow Glen High School, and Booksin Elementary School.

Nicholas O’Connor

Because the USU students spoke up, Thursday a California judge revoked his bail.

O’Connor is now back behind bars in San Jose.

Speaking up like that, is something experts say takes courage.

“‘How’s this going to affect me? Will my peers think something? Will they think I told on someone?’ But really, that’s what preventing violence is all about is making sure we stand up when we see something we’re not comfortable with,” said Amanda DeRito with Utah State University.

Police say what the students did was exemplary. Trusting your gut and knowing what to look for are key.

“Strange requests such as this, some kind of odd behavior, any number of things. The point is, don’t be afraid to say something. Don’t think to yourself, ‘Well, it’s nothing,’ because it really might be something,” Keuhn said.

USU has a campus-wide program beginning with incoming freshman where they teach students that if you see something, say something. In this case, they believe it may have saved lives.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

...
Madison Swenson

Hundreds without power in Riverton, Bluffdale and Herriman

Rocky Mountain Power is investigating after hundreds of residents in Riverton, Bluffdale and Herriman lost power Friday afternoon.
15 hours ago
Friday snow totals...
Cary Schwanitz

Snowy conditions expected this weekend

Winter storms will keep rolling across a parched Utah through this weekend.
15 hours ago
Gov. Spencer Cox talks about his fiscal year 2024 budget recommendations at the state Capitol in Sa...
Carter Williams, KSL.com

Utah housing, water, transit and more: What’s in Cox’s record $28.4B budget proposal?

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox's proposed 2024 fiscal year budget is loaded with items that he says will help future generations.
15 hours ago
(UDOT)...
Josh Ellis

EXPLAINER: How UDOT crews cleaned, contained massive oil spill on I-15

A tanker spilled over 2,000 gallons of crude oil across northbound Interstate 15 Thursday morning, leading to a nightmare of traffic delays along a busy stretch of Utah's main arterial roadway.
15 hours ago
FILE PHOTO...
Eliza Pace

East High School evacuated due to bomb threat

SALT LAKE CITY — East High School was evacuated Friday afternoon due to a bomb threat that was called in at 12:10 p.m. A tweet from the school said students were safe and police would be investigating. East High School has been evacuated due to a threat called into the school. Students are safe, and we […]
15 hours ago
Bryan Freeborn works at one of the package sorting machines at the United States Postal Service Pri...
Cassidy Wixom

Making the magic happen: How does the postal service do it?

The holiday rush is in full swing at post offices around the country to ensure packages, parcels, letters and Christmas cards all get delivered on time
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
‘Hero’ students at Utah State University may have prevented a disaster