Henry Horton IV booking photo Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
A Florida man who previously checked himself into a mental health institution sits in jail under a $1 million bond after police pulled him over during a routine traffic stop and uncovered a trove of handwritten notes in his car vowing to kill “everyone” at an area high school and more.
Nineteen-year-old Henry Horton IV, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, was stopped by police in Jupiter after officers noticed one of the head lights on his white pick-up truck was out. Asking Horton where he was headed, the man reportedly told them he was driving to a church in Miami where he planned to conduct “reconnaissance work” first before going on a “stabbing spree” there later, according to an arrest report.
The notes found by police were a disturbing mélange of promises to purchase guns and “kill everyone at OHS” or, Okeechobee High School, the school where the 19-year-old graduated just a year earlier, arrest records stated.
Police said the writings also contained threats to kill at least 10 people, including an administrator at the high school, once Horton turned 22 years old in 2026.
Officers reported finding a glass water pipe with residue in his vehicle, as well as a three fillet knives.
During the traffic stop, arrest records state that Horton said he “wanted to be killed by police or he would starve himself to death.”
Police said the man admitted to writing the manifestos and that some of his threatening screeds targeted his family members, shooting up churches in North Carolina and also shooting at a United Nations building. He said he intended to do this by purchasing a M1911 handgun and AK-47, records show.
He allegedly told police during another interview that much like his trip to the church in Miami, he had conducted “recon” missions at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, court records said. Police noted Horton’s vehicle had been seen lurking around Marjory Stoneman on Sept. 11.
A mass shooting at that high school left nearly two dozen people dead and as many injured in 2018.
Horton’s family has come to his defense.
His stepmother, Alisha Horton, whom he threatened to kill in some of the manifestos, told local ABC affiliate WPBF she wasn’t afraid of her stepson and that he was being misunderstood due to his struggles with mental illness. Arrest records indicate Horton said he was kicked out of his step mother’s home in April and that he said he had wanted to go on the killing spree to get back at her. When police asked him why he thought this would help him secure his revenge, Horton allegedly said it would “prove I lost my mind or something.”
He allegedly told police he had been feeling this way since at least May.
At the time Horton was pulled over, he was living with his mother Marcie Horton. She told WPBF after his arrest that he was a “good kid” who “never would have followed through on those threats” but that was not meant to excuse his behavior.
“I’m not saying that. But he needs help,” Marcie Horton said.
A 9mm belonging to her has been revoked since his arrest. It was found in her son’s car during the traffic stop. She told them she had lost it; Horton allegedly told police he took it from her.
Horton IV is currently in jail in Palm Beach County and placed under a $1 million bond.
His family said the young man had admitted himself to a mental health facility earlier this year while living in Virginia but that he was never diagnosed. Horton reportedly told officers he had checked himself into an institution before as well.
Marcia Horton claimed her son was merely “pump[ed] full of medicine” when he spent time at the facility and that he wasn’t well.
Though stopped on Sept. 27, Horton was not technically arrested until October 5. Immediately after the stop, due to outsized concerns over his mental health, police enforced the “Baker Act” which allows law enforcement to place people considered a threat to themselves or others under temporary custody for 72 hours.
Horton’s next court appearance is slated for Nov. 6.
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