Tarkio, Missouri, population about 1500. A place where everybody seemingly knows everybody and news travels fast. What happened inside the high school and what investigators discovered at a student's house in February have shaken this community to its core.
It was career day at the high school. Kids were to dress the part of a job.
A student, 19-year-old Michael Knoth, wore military style clothing, boots and body armor. Investigators say when he showed another student a fully loaded ammo magazine, she alerted a teacher, who quickly summoned Superintendent Dr. Patrick Martin.
Martin showed me how he escorted Knoth to an isolated room. It was there that Martin had the confrontation that possibly saved his school, the battle for the backpack.
The Superintendent said, " I was able to get the bag. He said you're not taking this. I said yes I am. We exchanged words, I ended up with the bag."
This is what he found inside : two 33-round fully loaded magazines for a 9 millimeter handgun,
two 17-round fully loaded magazines for a handgun, three 28-to-30 round fully loaded magazines for assault rifles, a 9 millimeter Glock pistol, with a 17 round magazine and hollow point style bullets, with one round in the chamber.
The Police Chief had arrived and arrested Knoth. Investigators then searched his pickup truck in the school parking lot. The police statement indicates they found even more ammunition. Later, police went to his house. Armed with a search warrant, they located two machine guns. When asked if he believes he prevented a mass shooting at his school that day, Martin replied, " In my heart, Yes." But Martin quickly added, "I am no hero. I am just part of a team that kept the kids safe."
Michael Knoth pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in federal court.
His trial on two felony counts of illegally possessing machine guns, is set for September.
If convicted, he might get twenty years in prison.