November 14, 2019
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Police honor a Vermont teen who tipped them about a potential school shooting in 2018

Lisa Rathke | AP
Lisa Rathke | AP
A Vermont State Police trooper stands to be recognized during the state police's annual awards ceremony on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, at the Statehouse in Montpelier, Vermont.

MONTPELIER, Vermont — A teen who tipped law enforcement last year to a possible school shooting plot at a Vermont high school was honored by state police with a lifesaving award Friday.

Angela McDevitt did not attend the annual awards ceremony because she is in her first week of college, state police said.

In February of 2018, she notified law enforcement of a potential threat by a former student against the Fair Haven Union High School.

Police arrested Jack Sawyer, of Poultney, the day after the Parkland school shooting in Florida that left 17 people dead. They said they thwarted Sawyer’s planned shooting at the Fair Haven school.

“Your willingness to come forward and inform law enforcement allowed the state police to prevent a horrific event,” said Vermont State Captain Julie Scribner at the ceremony.

Republican Gov. Phil Scott also praised McDevitt for alerting authorities.

“It wasn’t easy for her, it’s not easy to come forward,” he said. “A lot of people in a similar situation may not have said anything. But as a result of her intuition and courage she showed by saying something when she saw something, many lives may have been saved.”

He said he hopes her actions can be an example for all Vermonters: “When you see something, say something.”

A phone message was left at the home of McDevitt’s mother in New York.

McDevitt attended a treatment facility in Maine with Sawyer. While a student at Arlington High School in Lagrangeville, New York, she turned over to authorities social media messages from him in which he discussed the alleged plot.

Shortly afterward, Scott changed his perspective on gun laws and signed into law legislation that raised the age to buy firearms, banned high-capacity magazines and bump stocks and made it easier to take guns from people who posed a threat.

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This story has been corrected to show that the year Angela McDevitt notified law enforcement was 2018, not 2019.

 



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