GREENSBORO, N.C. — A man, accused of showing up at Smith High School in Greensboro armed, is now facing federal charges.
A grand jury filed the federal charges Monday, more than two months after the suspect allegedly traveled to North Carolina to shoot two people at the local school.
He’s charged with interstate transportation of a stolen motor vehicle; traveling with the intent to kill, injure, harass and intimidate in an attempt to commit a crime of domestic violence; and using and carrying firearms in relation to a crime of violence.
According to court documents, Steve Brantley Spence, 29, of Norfolk, Virginia, drove to North Carolina from Virginia in a stolen 2015 Mercedes Benz ML350.
Spence allegedly drove this way with the intent to hunt down two people and tried to commit an act of violence against them both using dangerous weapons.
He’s also facing charges for carrying and brandishing a .38 caliber handgun and a 9 mm handgun.
“Let there be no doubt, we will not tolerate people crossing state lines to hunt down former intimate partners, and we will prosecutre such crimes to the fullest extent of the law,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Martin said in a news release. “This case reflects the strength of our federal-local partnerships, and the Greensboro Police Department did excellent work to apprehend Mr. Spend without harm to students or school faculty. GPD performed a thorough investigation in conjunction with our office to allow these charges to be brought.”
As a result of the charges, the court forced Spence to forfeit a Jimenez Arms 9 mm handgun, a Armscor of the Philippines .38 caliber handgun, Remington 12 gauge shotgun, three boxes of Winchester 12 gauge buckshot, a box of Winchester 12 gauge rifle slugs, a box of Aguila .38 super A+P, two boxes of Winchester .38 super auto +p, a box of Hornaday Zombie Max bullets and a loaded magazine for the Armscor .38 caliber handgun.
Spencer was arrested after showing up at Smith High School on Dec. 3 according to Greensboro Police Chief Wayne Scott.
He had with him a handwritten note, included in the arrest warrant, featuring the words “mission” and “hit list,” as well as multiple names.
The note appears to detail a cross-country mission, beginning in an unspecified state, going through North Carolina and ending out of state.
The arrest warrant does not give context to the note.
Around 12:40 p.m. that day, Patrick Jordan, a behavioral intervention specialist with Smith High School, noticed someone who did not fit in.
After Jordan confronted Spence, he allegedly pulled the semi-automatic pistol out of his waist band, according to the warrant. The cafeteria was full of students at the time.
“Words cannot describe what I was going through at the time. Not only as a staff member, but one of my actual children goes to this school so I was in the role of a staff member and a parent. So my main thing was just trying to make the best of the situation,” Jordan said.
Jordan and Assistant Principal Lashonti Hines called for a lockdown and moved students out of the area. Spence left the cafeteria and went into the courtyard area.
“We practice our drill all the time, all the lockdown drills,” Hines said. “The district has us do those at least twice a year so, when having those practices, when the real thing happens you just jump right into. Its not even a thought actually.”
School Resource Officer D.K. Evans confronted Spence outside the school and Spence pulled out two handguns, one in each hand.
Spence then ran from Evans and was chased, Scott said.
Officers took Spence into custody on the edge of the school property after using a taser to subdue him.
Police reported Spence was wanted in Virginia for assault on a family member, grand larceny of a motor vehicle, grand larceny stolen property and strangling another causing wound or injury.
Greensboro police do not think Spence was targeting students. Police believe Spence’s intended targets at the school were people he had a personal relationship with.
Officers seized a loaded 9mm handgun, a loaded .45 caliber handgun, a long gun and backpack with eight boxes of bullets in it. Spence was in possession of a stolen 2015 Mercedes Benz.
“I think [Evans] did what he needed to do at that point in time for the safety of the students, for the safety of the staff. With the help of other officers we were able to take the suspect into custody and no harm came to him as well,” said Captain Renae Sigmon, supervisor of the School Resource Officer Unit.
In court Monday, when given the opportunity to speak, Spence was rambling about someone named Jeremiah.
Inside the courtroom, his uncle said Spence was a good kid who has a history of mental illness.
The judge ordered a mental evaluation and set Spence’s bond at $2 million.