They say a mother’s intuition is never wrong. Nothing could be more true of a mom from Lumberton, N.J., who trusted her instincts last week and helped prevent a mass school shooting before the suspected gunman left his driveway.
Koeberle Bull woke up on Wednesday morning to a racist Facebook message from a man in Kentucky. The vulgar message targeted her and her three biracial children, calling them horrible names and wishing unspeakable things on them.
Bull says it was the most hateful message she’d ever received, and it left her fearing for her 16, 11, and 8-year-old kids. She was especially fearful of the man’s profile picture in which he proudly showed off a gun.
Being that he had just made death threats against her children, Bull didn’t take the photo or message lightly, and she called local New Jersey police to file a report.
“But I felt like it wouldn’t really go anywhere, so I posted a screenshot of the message on Facebook,” she says.
With the help of some friends, Bull found out that the man was located in Central Kentucky.
Most people would take a deep breath and feel relieved, as the danger was not an imminent threat to her or her children now. But Bull’s gut was telling her otherwise.
“Something in the back of my head was like this isn’t right, like something’s not sitting well.”
Acting on her instincts, she called state police in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.
“I spoke to Officer Josh Satterly, who told me, ‘There’s no room for this kind of hate in my world,” she says. “He took me seriously.”
Local and state police followed the mom’s tip. On Thursday, officers arrived at the home of a 20-year-old man named Dylan Jarrell just as he was leaving his house with more than 200 rounds of ammunition, a bulletproof vest, a firearm, a 100-round high capacity magazine, and a “detailed plan of attack.”
In a press conference on Friday, Kentucky State Police revealed the suspect was headed toward two school districts in Anderson County and Shelby County.
KSP News Conference regarding school threat investigation
Posted by Kentucky State Police on Friday, October 19, 2018
“There’s no doubt in my mind that as a result of this investigation, we saved lives,” Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rick Sanders said during the press conference. “This young man had it in his mind to go to schools and create havoc.
“He had the tools necessary, the intent necessary. And the only thing that stood between him and evil … is law enforcement,” he added.
In searching Jarrell’s home, police found an internet search history on “How to conduct a school shooting,” and a “credible and imminent threat to Shelby and Anderson County schools.” Investigators also revealed that in May, Jarrell had been questioned by the FBI following social media threats toward a Tennessee School.
Jarrell was charged with two counts of second-degree terroristic threatening and one count of harassing communications and is being held in the Shelby County Detention Center.
Bull had no way of knowing when she reported Jarrell that she was protecting more than just her own kids.
“I would hope that someone would, in the same situation, just do the same thing. Because, obviously, you never know. It could be an idle threat or it could be the next mass shooter,” Bull said. “It’s our future. These kids are our future, my kids, the kids of Lawrenceburg and Anderson County, and we have to give them a fighting shot.”
In the week since reporting the message, Bull has been praised by families all over the country who say the timing of her tip and Jarrell’s arrest was “divine intervention.”
She encourages other people to take social media messages seriously, and report any concerning dialogue immediately.
“That one-in-a-million call could prevent a tragedy,” she says.