St. George Student charged with attempted murder, allegedly brought explosive to school

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah – A 17-year-old was charged with attempted murder after he allegedly brought an explosive device to Pineview High School and graffitied another school.

Due to his age, the juvenile’s name was not released. He was charged with one count of attempted murder, one count of use of a weapon of mass destruction, one count of graffiti, and one count of abuse of a flag.

According to a statement of facts released in the Fifth District Juvenile Court in Washington County, on March 5, the juvenile entered Pineview High School with two backpacks, one of which contained a homemade explosive device.

“[The juvenile]  can be observed on video surveillance placing the backpack on the ground leaning against the front right (east) corner of the vending machine,” the statement said.

The suspect then allegedly opened the backpack, lit a fuse, and walked away from it. Shortly after, a student reported to a school official that they saw a bag smoking in the area. A school resource officer observed the backpack, removed it from the school, and contacted law enforcement.

“The Washington County Bomb Squad examined the I.E.D. inside the backpack,” the statement said. “They determined that the device was made from a metal soup can filled with metal BB shots removed from shot gun shells.”

The juvenile suspect was later detained and transported from the high school to the St. George Police Department. During an interview with police, the teen allegedly admitted to placing the backpack and lighting a fuse with a match.

When asked if he intended to hurt people, the suspect allegedly told police, “Kind of a little bit. If someone got hurt, I probably wouldn’t care.”

The suspect also allegedly told police, “The way life is going; it’s not going well. There’s a bunch of bad people; I don’t like the way the world is going. I just wanted to do something to make it different.”

A search warrant was executed at the home of the juvenile, where police say they found BB’s from a BB gun, shotgun shells, and a black residue they believed to be gunpowder.

Police say the suspect also allegedly removed an American flag at Hurricane High School on Feb. 15. They said he replaced the flag with a homemade ISIS flag, and spray painted “ISIS is comi” on the side of the school.

During his interview with the St. George Police Department, the suspect allegedly admitted to police that he had hung the ISIS flag, which he made out of materials he had found at his grandparent’s shop.

In the interview, police asked what his intent beyond the event was. The suspect responded:

I would have laid low for a little while, kind of see what people’s reactions were, whether there were comments about it, etc. Then later on try to hang an ISIS flag somewhere like on a school or maybe on the freeway, make it look like ISIS is here. Then maybe after that try to contact ISIS, but I don’t really know how to do that. I need to do more research on that.”