Ken Serrano Asbury Park Press
Published 9:25 p.m. UTC Jun 25, 2018
PLUMSTED — Matthew V. Vanderbeek got thrown out of Brick Center vocational school in May after he threatened to “shoot up the school” at graduation, advising students that the “safe color to wear” was orange, authorities said.
A little more than a month later he took matters a step further: he asked a friend to drive him to a Jackson sporting goods store to buy a gun, saying he was going to kill people at the New Egypt High School graduation last Thursday, according to details of an affidavit.
That affidavit, which set forth the probable cause for Vanderbeek’s arrest last week, show the 19-year-old Vanderbeek meant business, according to the authorities. It details how students, a school official and law enforcement worked in concert to stop the threat. For a video of this update in the case, scroll up.
PREVIOUS: Authorities stymie plot to ‘shoot up’ New Egypt High graduation
The allegations from the affidavit follow:
On Tuesday at about 10:30 a.m., New Egypt High School Principal Michael Mendez called Plumsted police to report that a student told him she received a text message from a fellow student saying that Vanderbeek threatened to shoot people at the graduation.
Within 10 minutes, police spoke with the student who told Mendez of the threat. She showed them the text from the fellow student, who was relating what he allegedly heard from a friend of Vanderbeek’s.
Mendez also showed police a Snapchat post, purportedly from Vanderbeek, that he found out about from another student. It included a video recorded from the animated TV show “South Park” that showed a character loading a handgun and other characters with rifles. Over the video was a caption that read, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” At the end of the video was a caption that read, “I see myself dead in the end.”
Another Snapchat post, allegedly from Vanderbeek as well, shows a line of scripture from Exodus over a black and green bio hazard symbol. “It will become fine dust among the land of Egypt with boils breaking out on man and beast,” the caption read.
By 3:30 p.m., police tracked down the student who heard some of the threats that allegedly were made by Vanderbeek the week before.
The student was hanging out with Vanderbeek, who had dyed his hair red. When the student asked why, Vanderbeek allegedly told him he was influenced by a school shooter that did the same.
Vanderbeek then asked the student to drive him to Pinelands Sporting Goods in Jackson to buy a gun. While in the car, Vanderbeek allegedly told the student he was planning to “shoot up the school” at graduation. The student told Vanderbeek he couldn’t believe what he was hearing and to get out of his car, the student said.
Vanderbeek was arrested that day.
The Plumsted man is now facing charges of making terroristic threats and attempting to buy a gun for an illegal purpose, according to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.
Vanderbeek remains at Ocean County jail. It could not immediately be learned who is counsel is.
Ken Serrano: 732-643-4029; [email protected]
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