A Utah high school was evacuated Monday after a homemade explosive device was discovered in a backpack at Pine View High School.
Police have a suspect in custody. The suspect is a juvenile male who was attending Pine View High School and is believed to be inspired by ISIS; he was arrested and placed in juvenile detention, the St. George Police Department said.
The suspect was arrested Tuesday morning and will face charges of manufacture, possession, sale, use or attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, and maybe more, police said.
Police delivered a search warrant at the home of the young male. Police found supplies consistent with the ones used to construct the device.
A computer search indicated the youth had researched information about ISIS that was consistent with promoting the terrorist group.
The search on the suspect’s home turned up numerous supplies and materials that indicated he may be a person of interest in a separate crime at Hurricane High School.
The suspect confessed to tearing down the American flag last month at Utah’s Hurricane High School and replacing it with ISIS’ flag, he said during a police interview.
The suspect also confessed to spray painting “ISIS IS COMI” on the school the same day, police said.
This investigation is ongoing and criminal charges are pending.
A student found a backpack with smoke coming out of it, police said. The student saw the suspicious backpack in one of the school’s common areas around 12:30 p.m. Monday.
The student reported it to a teacher, who then alerted a school resource officer (SRO) about the incident, according to Capt. Mike Giles with the St. George Police Department.
A member of St. George’s regional bomb unit also responded to the scene.
If the device had detonated, it would have caused significant injury or death, St. George police said.
“Initially they evacuated that area, but as soon as they realized they were dealing with a larger issue, and more potential for injury or damage, the decision was made to contact the principal of the school, and the SRO conducted an evacuation of the school with the principal,” Giles said.
The Washington County School District posted on its website that all of the school’s students had been accounted for and were safe.