ELBERT COUNTY — A former District 20 student is facing attempted murder charges on allegations of planning attacks on three schools in Colorado Springs, according to the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office.
19-year-old William Whitworth who identifies as "Lilly" has been charged with felony criminal attempt to commit murder in the first degree and misdemeanor interference with staff, faculty, or students of educational institutions, menacing, and criminal mischief. The suspect is currently being held in the Elbert County Jail.
According to the arrest affidavit, the Elbert County Sheriff's Office was called to a home in an unincorporated area after a family member in the homemade claims Whitworth had made multiple references to school shootings and even allegedly threatened to shoot up a school,
Deputies spoke to the suspect at home about the concerns and reports of threats to campuses. According to a deputy, Whitworth nodded 'yes' when asked if Whitworth was planning to perform a school shooting.
Deputies noted that the suspect appeared to be intoxicated during their initial contact.
The deputy also asked what school the former D20 student had previously attended, to which Whitworth responded "Timberview Middle School". When asked if this was the school Whitworth was planning on attacking, the suspect nodded and gave "No specific reason" when asked why.
According to the deputy, Whitworth was about a third of the way from performing the school shooting and had been planning for a month or two. Whitworth told deputies that Timberview Middle School on Scarborough Dr in Colorado Springs was one of the "main targets" and the others were churches.
The deputy later asked how much knowledge Whitworth had about school shootings to which Whitworth replied "too much". The affidavit refers to a manifesto with an entire page referencing mass killings. The document allegedly includes drawings of classrooms and a detonator. According to the deputy, the suspect claimed to have found a YouTube video on how to create a detonator.
According to the affidavit, deputies returned to collect evidence where they found more journals with details of a list of firearms and how to 3D print them, detailed lists of numerous named individuals to be killed and their intended casualty versus injury rate, information detailing the creation of improvised explosive devices, and the locations of Timberview Middle School, Prarie Hills Elementary and Pine Creek High Schools.
There are no details of firearms or explosives being in the suspect's possession or in the home at the time of the arrest.
Whitworth has a preliminary hearing scheduled for May 5, 2023. The bond is currently set at $75,000.
In a letter to parents and staff, Academy District 20 wrote:
"Academy District 20,
We wanted to ensure you were aware of a criminal case being handled by the Office of the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office that impacts our district and a former student. We anticipate this case will garner a great deal of media attention.
Transparent communication is a top priority. When dealing with a criminal case we are limited with what information we can provide to our community, but, we are working closely with the DA's office and are able to share the below.
This morning, the 18th Judicial DA’s Office informed us formal charges were filed against a former Academy District 20 student, William “Lilly” Whitworth. Bond is set at $75,000, and Whitworth remains in-custody.
Whitworth was booked into the Elbert County Jail and has been charged with numerous criminal offenses, but those related to our district state Whitworth, “made a credible threat to cause death or to cause bodily injury with a deadly weapon against a student, a school official and/or an employee of an educational institution,” and “attempted to cause the death of Students and/or Staff of Timberview Middle School.” Two other district schools, Pine Creek High School and Prairie Hills Elementary were mentioned in the affidavit.
Whitworth attended three ASD20 schools over two years, but only for nine months.
- Prairie Hills Elementary, Aug. 2014 – 2015
- Home School Academy, Jan. 2016 – Feb. 2016
- Timberview Middle School, Aug. 2016 – Oct. 3, 2016
The district will continue working closely with the Elbert County Sheriff's Department and 18th Judicial Team. We are incredibly grateful and thankful to them for their partnership and unwavering dedication to keeping our students, staff and community safe and protected.
The news of these school shooting threats comes a day after students across southern Colorado and across the nation walked out of class to protest nationwide gun violence organized by the group Students Demand Action. Students with Banning Lewis Academy, Coronado High School, and Pueblo East High School were among some of the many that had students participate in walkouts.
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