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Serial killer obsessed fake policeman who planned mass shooting jailed for life

Reed Wischhusen had written a 1,700 word ‘revenge’ document planning his three attacks

Holly Evans
Friday 12 January 2024 15:05 GMT
Lidl worker who ‘plotted attack at primary school' shot by police at home

A Lidl worker who dressed as a fake policeman with a plan to attack police headquarters, who plotted to shoot former teachers and ex-schoolmates, has been jailed for life.

Reed Wischhusen, 32, had hoped to shoot police at point blank range at the Avon and Somerset Constabulary headquarters in Portishead and had compiled a list of targets that included a school.

Jurors heard he had a “macabre interest” in the Dunblane gunman Thomas Hamilton and Raoul Moat and US mass killers, and had built firearms and explosives to carry out a “hitman-style attack” on his former school and his former bullies.

He had also written down his warped plans in a document he dubbed “revenge”, which totalled 1,700 words and detailed three potential attacks.

Gunman Reed Wischhusen has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 12 years (Avon and Somerset Police/PA Wire)

To carry out his plans he collected an armoury of homemade weapons including pistols, sub-machine guns and a shotgun, as well as ammunition, bombs, grenades and poison.

Wischhusen’s plans were only stopped when uniformed officers visited the home he shared with his father in Wick Road, Wick St Lawrence, Somerset in November last year, having received a tip-off that he was purchasing blank ammunition.

Described as a “real house of horrors”, officers were confronted with a chaotic Wischhusen who attempted to shoot himself in the head with a concealed pistol in his bathroom, before running downstairs with the gun to confront armed officers.

Fearing they were going to be killed, the defendant was shot twice by officers and he spent several months recovering in hospital.

In victim impact statements read to the court, the officers who were confronted by Wischhusen spoke of how traumatic the incident had been for them.

One said they have recurring nightmares and fear they are going to be shot every time they go into a house.

Wischhusen attempted to shoot himself when officers visited his home (Avon and Somerset Police/PA Wire)

“The overriding experience from this is how valuable your life is and how soon it can be over,” they said.

“This incident makes you realise how fragile life can be. It is something that will never leave me.”

When searching his property, police found equipment in his outhouse to manufacture the pistols, sub-machine guns, ammunition and explosives.

In the introduction to his “revenge” document, he said: “Yes, revenge is on my mind it’s a powerful motivator, be nice to get back at the people who caused me stress and worry over the years it’s been eating away at my brain like cancer.”

Phase one was to kill 10 people, including ex-classmates, teachers and police staff, using a converted pistol with a silencer, while wearing disguised clothing and a wig.

He planned to spare two police staff so they would feel “survivor’s guilt”, citing Dunblane killer Hamilton as inspiration.

He would then walk into his old school, Priory School in Worle, to shoot and kill teachers and throw pipe bombs before evading police.

Reed Wischhusen smiles as he describes gun as ‘pride and joy' (Avon and Somerset Constabulary / SWNS)

The 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.

Jurors were told that he planned to then kill himself, and had signed off his plans by saying he had become radicalised this way before becoming a member of the National Rifle Association in the US.

“This would make national news, even international as a endowment life member of the NRA they be possibly blamed for radicalizing me,” he said. “But I’ve been like this way before I became an NRA member.

“But granted homemade guns don’t count it be brilliant it get every bit of anti-gun democrat milf going. That alone would be so cathartic!

“It has to happen, regardless.”

Body cam footage issued by Avon and Somerset Police of officers searching his property (Avon and Somerset Police/PA Wire)

Wischhusen had denied the plot and said it was all “fantasy” and he never had any intention of harming anyone.

Describing his writings, he told jurors: “It was a psychological release and feelings like I am getting back at people.

Following a trial, his denials were rejected and he was found guilty of having an explosive substance with intent to endanger life, possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life, possessing ammunition with intent to endanger life and possessing a prohibited firearm without a certificate.

He had previously admitted possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, possessing a prohibited firearm and possessing ammunition without a firearm certificate.

Judge Martin Picton had directed the jury to find the defendant guilty of an eighth charge of having an explosive substance.

He had acquired a number of weapons and explosives to assist him with his planned attack (Avon and Somerset Police/PA Wire)

He has now been ordered to serve a minimum of 12 years’ imprisonment by a judge at Bristol Crown Court after being convicted of a string of weapons, ammunition and explosives charges.

Andrew Pritchard, from the Crown Prosecution Service South West, said: “It is clear Wischhusen took a macabre interest in mass shootings and, had he not been stopped, had the means to enact his deadly plan with terrible consequences.

“His intention was to send a brutal and violent message to those he felt had wronged him throughout his life, from school bullies, to police staff who had refused him firearms licences, to his bosses at work.

“Throughout this trial, he attempted to paint the picture that he was a tinkerer with a vague interest in weapons and explosives.

“This picture was rejected by the jury and I would like to take the opportunity to thank the prosecution team’s efforts in unpicking Wischhusen’s account.”

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