A gunman with a “macabre interest” in the Dunblane shooter dismissed written plans to get revenge on his former classmates and attack his old school as “fantasy”, a court heard.
Lidl warehouse worker Reed Wischhusen, 32, of Wick St Lawrence, a small village in Somerset, wrote of a “hitman-style attack” on ten people, shooting dead teachers and throwing bombs at his former school and killing police staff, prosecutors say.
It is alleged over a “sustained period”, Wischhusen, who is fascinated with mass shootings and infamous killers, compiled an “armoury” of homemade weapons including pistols, sub-machine guns and a shotgun, as well as ammunition, bombs, grenades and poison, to be kept at his “quiet house”.
However, having been shot by police officers at his home while they were searching for weapons on November 28 2022, he said in an interview this year that his uncovered written plans were a “fantasy story” to “amuse myself”, a trial jury at Bristol Crown Court heard on Tuesday.
Jurors heard Wischhusen’s response came after an interviewing police officer asked him in March if his weapons arsenal and hit list had amounted to something “more sinister”.
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.
He has admitted possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, possessing a prohibited firearm and possessing ammunition without a firearm certificate in relation to the handgun incident last year.
Jonathan Rees KC, opening the trial, said: “(Wischhusen’s) quiet house and its outhouse to the rear of it contained a dark secret.
“Over a sustained period of time, Mr Wischhusen, who had a macabre interest in infamous killers such as Thomas Hamilton of Dunblane and Raoul Moat in the UK and the ‘cop hater’ Ralph McLean in the US, and also in mass shootings and bombings such as the Columbine Shooting and the Oklahoma Bombing, set about attempting unlawfully to build – in his own words – a ‘small armoury’ of firearms and explosives.”
The prosecutor added 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.
Wischhusen admitted in his police interview to having a “little bit” of an interest in mass shootings but said Hamilton was not someone he looked up to, jurors were told.
In a 1,700-word document, he wrote: “Revenge is on my mind, it’s a powerful motivator.”
Jurors heard phase one of Wischhusen’s alleged revenge plan was to kill ten people using a converted pistol with a silencer while wearing disguised clothing and a wig.
Mr Rees told jurors the defendant had listed ex-classmates, teachers and police staff, who he believed had wronged him in the past, as targets.
Wischhusen accepted he hated some of the people on the list, despite not seeing them for 13 years, the court heard.
He planned to spare two police staff so they would feel “survivor’s guilt”, citing Hamilton as inspiration for this, the prosecutor said.
Wischhusen would then 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.
After this he planned to kill himself, the court heard.
Mr Rees said Wischhusen took “real, concrete steps” to compile the weapons and that his writings about them were “no fantasy at all”.
Jurors were told five officers attended his “unclean and neglected” address at 11am on November 28 last year after receiving intelligence about him converting blank firearms into lethal weapons.
They initially discovered tools they believed could be used to adapt weapons, as well as modified guns, police body armour, master keys and ammunition, the court heard.
During the search, Wischhusen put on a dark warehouse coat and asked to use his upstairs toilet, it was said.
In police bodycam footage, shown to the jury, the sound of a gun being cocked and shot was heard, before the defendant emerged from the bathroom pointing a loaded modified pistol at two officers.
Wischhusen screamed that he wanted to die after being shot three times and restrained by the officers, Mr Rees said.
The prosecutor added: “The officers have described how they believed that they were about to die, and how the incident left them in shock and suffering trauma.”
Jurors heard Wischhusen was placed under sedation in a critical, but stabilised condition after being shot.
An X-ray scan of the defendant’s head revealed a bullet behind his right ear, which appeared to have been fired by himself from his gun, Mr Rees said.
Wischhusen later said in a police interview he ran at officers with the gun because he hoped they would kill him and did not want to shoot anyone, the court heard.
Among the other items later found in the house were a homemade machine gun, two small black handguns, police uniform, badges and handcuffs and a large hunting knife, the court heard.
Jurors were told he also had dangerous explosive chemicals and substances, as well as manuals and guides on how to make weapons, ammunition and grenade launchers and a digital document titled “How To Defend Yourself In Court”.
Wischhusen had an image of him wearing a police uniform and carrying a gun on his phone.
After his arrest, the defendant alleged he bought the uniform online to “get back” at Avon and Somerset Police staff who rejected an application by him in 2011 to become a volunteer officer, Mr Rees said.
The trial continues.
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