A New Jersey woman credited with helping foil a potential school attack in Kentucky said she was “protecting my babies” when she followed her gut and tipped off police about harassing Facebook messages that police say are linked to the suspect.
The tip from the woman, Koeberle Bull, led Kentucky authorities to Dylan Jarrell, who possessed a firearm, more than 200 rounds of ammunition, a bulletproof vest, a 100-round high-capacity magazine and a “detailed plan of attack,” Kentucky State Police said last week. The head of state police said he believed lives were saved when investigators interceded as Jarrell was leaving his driveway last Thursday.
“I must say I didn’t see this coming but thank God I went with my gut,” Bull said in a Facebook post last week.
In an email interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Bull said she had no idea her decision to reach out to police would have ramifications far beyond her family.
“I was just protecting my babies,” she said, noting that the racially offensive Facebook comments linked to Jarrell had been aimed at her three children, who are biracial.
“I’m just so thankful everyone is OK,” Bull said. “We need to do more to protect our babies.”
Jarrell, 21, pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of second-degree terroristic threatening and harassing communications. A preliminary hearing was set for early next month in Anderson County District Court.
“These cases are very complex and often have many sides to them,” said Amy Robertson, a public defender assigned to represent Jarrell. “It is not uncommon for it to take a long time for all the facts to come out. I ask that you not jump to any conclusions and give me time to do my job.”
Jarrell is being held in the Shelby County Detention Center.
On Friday, Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rick Sanders said he was certain the police intervention saved lives.
“This young man had it in his mind to go to schools and create havoc,” Sanders said.
He added that Jarrell “was caught backing out of his driveway with the tools he needed to commit this heinous act.” A review of Jarrell’s phone found information pertaining to “threats of bodily harm against multiple persons at a school,” according to his arrest citation. It did not specify which school was threatened.
Jarrell lives close to Anderson County High School in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. Anderson County public school officials canceled classes district-wide last Friday after being alerted by police.
Sanders said Bull did the right thing in reaching out to state police.
“We often hear from the community: ‘Well, why should I call the police? You guys aren’t going to do anything about it.’ This is an example of how when you call the police … we do something about it.”
In another Facebook comment last week, Bull said the country needs “to do better” in dealing with mental health and gun control.
She said she’s received an outpouring of support from her friends in New Jersey and from people in Kentucky.
“It’s been an overwhelming and humbling experience,” she said in an email.