GREENSBORO — Steve Spence came to Ben L. Smith High School in early December, police said, with guns, a “hit list” and a plan to kill his former intimate partners.
“We were almost the next national story,” said Greensboro Police Chief Wayne Scott on Tuesday after federal indictments against Spence were announced.
U.S. Attorney Matthew G.T. Martin made the announcement Tuesday that Spence now faces three federal charges involving interstate domestic violence that a federal grand jury handed up Monday. Federal prosecutors said the charges carry a possible maximum sentence of life in prison.
“I want there to be no doubt from this indictment that we will not tolerate crossing state lines to hunt down former intimate partners,” Martin said. “We will prosecute crimes of this nature to the fullest extent of the law.”
Martin said those charges include crossing state lines in a stolen vehicle, and with the intent to kill, injure, harass and intimidate former domestic partners, as well as, brandishing two guns while trying to carry out domestic violence.
“I want to emphasize that these are allegations,” Martin said. “This is the indictment phase. Mr. Spence is innocent until the United States, through our federal prosecution office in the court of justice, proves him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of each charge.”
Spence is accused of traveling from Virginia Beach, Va., to the high school in a stolen 2015 Mercedes Benz ML350 with a Virginia vanity plate. At the school, Spence pulled out two guns and a backpack full of ammunition. A “hit list” found on Martin detailed his plans to target two former partners —a current and a former employee at the school — and then travel to Durham to kill another former intimate partner and her parents. From there, the list stated his plan was to kill again in Maryland.
The federal indictment said police found a 9 mm handgun, a .38 caliber handgun and a 12-gauge shotgun in Spence's possession. Also found were three boxes of buckshot, one box of 12 gauge rifle slugs, three boxes of ammunition, a magazine for the .38 caliber handgun and a box of ammunition for the 9 mm handgun.
Patrick Jordan, a school behavioral intervention specialist, said in December that Spence had told him, inside the schools’ cafeteria, during a busy lunch period, that he planned to start shooting.
Jordan, Assistant Principal Lashonti Hines and School Resource Officer D.K. Evans have been credited with stopping Spence from carrying out his plan.
Police arrested Spence on Vanstory Street, near the school, after Evans charged Spence with a gun, despite Spence pointing two guns at Evans. Evans actions scared Spence away from the school and toward waiting police, officers said.
Spence is also facing state charges that include two counts of attempted first-degree murder, fugitive from justice, receiving or transferring stolen vehicles, having a weapon on school grounds, resist, delay or obstruct an officer, second-degree trespassing and going armed to the terror of the people.
Spence remains in the Guilford County jail under $5.5 million bail.
Contact Danielle Battaglia at 336-373-4476 and follow @dbattagliaNR on Twitter.
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