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

Cottonwood High lines up for a free kick following a fair catch against Jordan High. (KSL Sports)...
Andrew Adams

Coach, kicker & official reflect on Cottonwood High’s rare, game-winning play

Cottonwood defeated Jordan High after the Colts attempted and converted a free kick for three points with 12 seconds left following a fair catch on a punt.
4 months ago
...
Karah Brackin

Utah Veterans head to Washington D.C. for ‘trip of a lifetime’

75 veterans left Salt Lake City for Washington D.C. Tuesday morning.
4 months ago
Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, introduces himself as a member of a n...
Ashley Imlay, KSL.com & Aimee Cobabe, KSL NewsRadio

Supreme Court declines to hear Utah gun rights activist’s appeal to overturn bump stock ban

A prominent Utah gun rights activist has lost his bid to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the federal bump stock ban.
4 months ago
Yvette Rodier, shooting survivor...
Amy Donaldson, KSL Podcasts

LETTER PODCAST: Victim says bullet wounds were easiest part of recovery

When Yvette Rodier woke up in a hospital, she knew, even before anyone told her, that her friend, Zachary Snarr, was dead.
4 months ago
Housing construction....
Ladd Egan

Unaffordable Utah: Mortgage rates climb again as buyers look for price reductions

Utah's housing market is whiplashing as last year's buying frenzy seems to have slowed down to signs of a recession.
4 months ago
FILE...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

Get Gephardt: How cybercriminals use social engineering to get us to hand over our sensitive info

You can have the strongest, most secure password in the history of cybersecurity, but the bad guys know there is one weakness they can use to hack into your system - you!
4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

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.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
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: Ask these questions 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.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
‘Hero’ students at Utah State University may have prevented a disaster