Teen Drawn to ISIS Brought Homemade Bomb to Utah School, Police Say
A teenage student at a southern Utah high school has been charged with bringing a homemade bomb to the school that was discovered in a backpack emitting smoke and prompted an evacuation, police said Tuesday.
The boy was arrested Monday night after Pine View High School in the city of St. George was evacuated for two hours that afternoon while the FBI and a bomb squad investigated. Police declined to identify the arrested teen or give his age.
Authorities said additional charges also are pending against the teen as a suspect in the raising of the Islamic State group’s flag on a pole at another Utah high school last month just after the Florida mass school shooting that was followed by numerous other threats to schools around the U.S.
The boy was arrested and booked into a detention center on charges of manufacture, possession, sale, use or attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, St. George police said in a statement.
No one was hurt, no damage was reported and the school reopened Tuesday morning for classes. Police did not describe the homemade bomb in detail but said it “had the potential to cause significant injury or death.”
“Based on our investigation we can confirm this was a failed attempt to detonate a homemade explosive at the school. It was also determined that the male had been researching information and expressing interest in ISIS and promoting the organization,” police said.
Police in the city of Hurricane about a half-hour drive from St. George said Tuesday the teen who was arrested is also suspected of raising an Islamic State group flag in February at Hurricane High School. That happened on Feb. 15, a day after a mass shooting at a school in Florida. Authorities initially thought the graffiti and flag at the school were pranks.
In the case at Hurricane High School, the U.S. flag was found on the ground and slashed with a flag with Arabic letters waving from the flagpole.