Bail lowered, charges dropped for Vt. teen accused of plotting mass shooting


The teenager accused of plotting to shoot up his former high school could soon be back on the streets after both his charges and bail were reduced.

In February, police said 18-year-old Jack Sawyer planned to carry out a mass shooting at Fair Haven High School in Poultney, Vt. He’s been in jail since, but there are growing worries that he won’t be for long.

It’s something Austin Herber hasn’t been able to shake.

“It’s scary,” he said. “It’s happening way too much.”

Herber is a former student at Fair Haven. The news that someone was planning an attack is haunting.

“There’s really no other way to put it,” he said. “It’s a horrible thing to even imagine.”

Sawyer was released from a Maine mental institution in February. That’s when police received a tip and discovered he had weapons and what appeared to be plans to carry out a shooting at his former school.

Sawyer was originally arrested for Attempted Murder and was being held for $100,000 bail. But on Wednesday, a judge lowered the bail to $10,000 and dropped the murder charges. The Supreme Court said preparation alone did not warrant them.

“I’m not happy about it,” Nate Keeney said.

Keeney helps out at the high school. He said something doesn’t add up.

“I’d rather see him face some sort of punishment for what he’s doing,” he said.

Dan Kowlaski has a young daughter. The thought that Sawyer could be released on bail is frightening.

“To have it hit so close to home is very concerning,” he said.

He hopes there are other options for Sawyer.

“Some sort of treatment, some sort of mental health evaluation,” he suggested.

Meanwhile, Herber said if the accusations are correct, Sawyer deserves to stay behind bars.

“This guy should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he said.

For now, Sawyer remains behind bars at a correctional facility in Rutland.

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