Dunblane shooting obsessive was planning his own school attack, court hears

Defendant wearing a police uniform and holding a firearm
Reed Wischhusen was found to have acquired police uniforms, one of which he was pictured wearing while holding a firearm - Avon and Somerset Police/ SWNS

A warehouse worker with a “macabre interest” in the Dunblane gunman built an “armoury” in his home and plotted to murder his former teacher and classmates, a court heard.

Reed Wischhusen, 32, filled his house in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, with pistols, submachine guns, bombs, grenades and poison to launch a “hitman-style attack” against 10 people at his old school, prosecutors have said.

Police officers shot Wischhusen three times when he pointed a handgun at them during a search of his home in November last year, jurors at Bristol Crown Court were told on Tuesday.

Five officers attended the address after receiving intelligence that Wischhusen was converting blank firearms into lethal weapons.

He survived the shooting but spent four months in hospital recovering from his injuries and was later charged with six firearms offences.

Jonathan Rees KC, opening the case for the prosecution, said the defendant had developed a “macabre interest in infamous killers” such as Thomas Hamilton, the Dunblane gunman, Raoul Moat and Ralph Maclean, an American who killed several US law enforcement officials.

The “infamy” of Hamilton, who in 1996 committed the worst mass shooting in UK history at Dunblane Primary School, and violent gunman Moat “seemingly appealed” to the defendant, Mr Rees said.

In a 1,700 word document, Wischhusen wrote the following: “Revenge is on my mind, it’s a powerful motivator.”

Jurors heard phase one of his alleged revenge plan was to kill 10 people using a converted pistol with a silencer, while wearing a disguise and wig.

Mr Rees told the court the defendant had listed ex-classmates, teachers and police staff who he believed had wronged him as targets.

This included a teacher Wischhusen said “would spend the lesson bullying him and making fun of him”, as well as a boy from school who had “grabbed hold of him and pinned him against the wall for no reason”.

However, he planned to spare two firearms officers who had turned down his licence application, so they would feel “survivor’s guilt”, the prosecutor said, with Wischhusen citing Hamilton as inspiration for this decision.

Firearms discovered

He intended to walk into his old school, Priory School in Worle, to shoot and kill teachers and throw pipe bombs before evading police, the court was told.

The alleged plan would culminate in an attack on Avon and Somerset Police’s headquarters, where he would either plant and detonate pressure cooker bombs before opening fire on staff with sub-machine guns, or ambush officers and enter the building to let off explosives, the prosecutor claimed.

During the search of his home on November 28 2022,  police found several firearms at various stages of conversion, including a submachine gun, and a large quantity of chemicals, pressure cookers and ball bearings - indicating Wischhusen had plans to build IEDs.

A vintage lathe and pillar drill were found in a concrete outhouse, which Wischhusen had used to adapt the firearms into live weapons.

He had also acquired police uniforms, including body armour, which he was pictured wearing while holding one of his adapted firearms.

Wischhusen denies having an explosive substance with intent to endanger life, having an explosive substance, possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life, possessing ammunition with intent to endanger life and possessing a prohibited firearm without a certificate.

The trial continues.

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