10 years ago: ‘Columbine-style’ plot on Green Bay East thwarted


GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – Today marks 10 years since police broke up what they described as a “Columbine-style” plot to attack Green Bay East High School.

On Sept. 14, 2006, East High School student Matt Atkinson, then 17, told school staff that his friends were planning to use guns and bombs to attack the school.

Police intervened, arresting William Cornell and Shawn Sturtz.

A search of Cornell’s home turned up guns, ammunition, homemade bombs, gas masks, grenades, and glass jars filled with what appeared to be gasoline.

No weapons were found at the school.william-cornell-shawn-sturtz-bradley-netwal

A criminal complaint stated that Sturtz told Atkinson he was “going to shoot up the place” like Columbine, the site of a 1999 massacre by students at Colorado high school.

The suspects reached plea deals to avoid trial. Cornell was sentenced to six years in prison. Sturtz received a three-year sentence.

Bradley Netwal, accused of conspiring with Sturtz and Cornell, received an 18-month sentence. He did not have to serve the full sentence due to time served.

Matt Atkinson was dubbed a hero by city and state leaders, and a scholarship fund was set up for the teen. He was honored as “Person of the Week” on ABC World News with Charles Gibson.

In 2007, Atkinson told Action 2 News,  “As far as changing me as a person, not really, you know because my mom always instilled in me: ‘do the right thing.’ And that’s been my motto since all this happened.”

Matt Atkinson
Matt Atkinson










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