Vienna police say community efforts deterred potential school shooting
An 18-year-old from Columbiana County is accused of making threats to harm himself and others at the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics in Vienna Wednesday afternoon.
This came just one day after the devastating shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
Vienna Police Chief Bob Ludt said if witnesses did not say something when they did, this could have been a potentially deadly tragedy.
Firearms dealer Brett Fine said 18-year-old Christian Blymiller of New Waterford came into the Youngstown Sandles Pawnshop to buy an AR-15 style rifle and two boxes of ammunition Wednesday afternoon.
"He did the background check and basically passed with flying colors," Fine said.
Fine said Blymiller mentioned he was a student at Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics - and it was Fine's next move that may have saved lives, according to police.
He texted a teacher he knew, who happened to work at the school. The two quickly connected the dots when the teacher made Fine aware of alleged threats Blymiller was making at school right beforehand.
Chief Ludt said they were notified that Blymiller was making threats in the school through conversations with students, prompting an evacuation.
The school administration told police that Blymiller left campus to go to work, and allegedly denied making threats, but authorities didn't know he was on his way to purchase a gun until Fine alerted them.
"They now connect the dots," Ludt said, "We have an individual that made some comments that were very unsettling and now we have a phone call from a firearms dealer saying he was down there saying he was there buying a firearm."
Ludt said they couldn't take any chances at that point, and started pinging Blymiller's phone to track him down and arrest him.
The School administration said in part "...We are proud of the vigilant students who took the appropriate steps to relay their concerns..." and adds that Blymiller "did not express a specific intention to harm anyone at PIA."
"No one got hurt," Ludt said, "We got the gentleman arrested. He's secured. The weapon is secured and I think we possibly averted a very terrible situation."
Blymiller was never on campus with a weapon.
Police arrested Blymiller on route 7 Columbiana and said he was cooperative. Multiples agencies assisted, including Columbiana, New Waterford and Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Blymiller remains behind bars with no bond.
Chief Ludt said the moral of the story is, if you see something, say something.