‘If someone got hurt, I probably wouldn’t care’; Teen charged with attempted murder in Pine View High bomb scare

St. George Police officers and Washington County Sheriff’s deputies blocked access to Pine View High School as a bomb scare was investigated at the school, St. George, Utah, March 5, 2018 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – A 16-year-old boy has been charged with attempted murder in connection with his attempt to detonate a homemade bomb inside Pine View High School earlier this month.

Pine View High School students are evacuated to the football field as police investigate a bomb scare inside the school and swept the parking lot as a precaution, St. George, Utah, March 5, 2018 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The first-degree felony attempted murder charge is joined by a pre-existing first-degree felony charge for the possession of a weapon of mass destruction, as well as misdemeanor charges for graffiti and abuse of the U.S. flag at Hurricane High in February.

Due to the suspect’s juvenile status, his name is not being released to the public.

The 5th District Juvenile Court released the charging documents related to the case Monday, which added additional detail to the events of March 5 that led to the evacuation of 1,100 students from the school that morning.

Read More: Charges filed in Pine View bomb scare; more possible in relation to ISIS flag incident

The boy was seen on surveillance footage entering the school shortly after 11 a.m. with two backpacks, “one of them containing a homemade Improvised Explosive Device (I.E.D.),” according to the court document.

Additional footage showed the boy visiting the school’s media center before heading to the cafeteria, where he placed the backpack with the bomb by a vending machine.

“(He) walked directly to the area of the vending machine and can be observed on the video surveillance placing the backpack on the ground and leaning against the front right (east) corner the vending machine,” the document states.

The boy then lit a fuse on the bomb and walked away. According to the court record, there were 75-150 students in the cafeteria at the time. Some of those students soon observed “dark gray smoke and a strong odor coming from the backpack for 30-60 seconds” and notified the school staff and the school resource officer.

The backpack was subsequently removed by the resource officer, and the school was evacuated as a call was put in for the Washington County Bomb Squad.

St. George Police officers and Washington County Sheriff’s deputies blocked access to Pine View High School as a bomb scare was investigated at the school, St. George, Utah, March 5, 2018 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The bomb squad determined the device was constructed out of a “metal soup can filled with metal BB shots removed from shot gun shells,” the record states.

Additional items in the backpack included “three canning lids with masking tape, BBs, an improvised fuse, black gun powder, white plastic cup, empty box of box-strike matches, three 16.9 oz. water bottles of gasoline, a burnt match and an unburnt match, one additional fuse that had a burnt end that was in the bottom of the backpack, and JROTC clothing.”

Though a resident of Hurricane, authorities have stated the 16-year-old was a part of Pine View High’s Junior ROTC program.

After being taken into custody, the boy admitted to putting the backpack by the vending machine and lighting the fuse.

“He was asked what he lit the fuse with and he replied that he lit it with a match,” the document states. “He said it didn’t work the first time he tried to light it so he tried again by sticking the match in the fuse and that it started to catch so he jumped up and moved away after it started to smoke.”

When asked if his intent was to hurt anyone, the boy replied, “Kind of a little bit. If someone got hurt, I probably wouldn’t care.”

During the same interview, a detective asked what the boy would have thought if the bomb had detonated and injured or killed other students.

“I would have been fine with it,” he said.

The detective also asked if there was anything the boy was specifically angry about or that would make him want to hurt others.

“The way life is going; it’s not going well,” the boy said. “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.”

The detective asked again if the boy didn’t care if anyone had been hurt and how he might have felt if they were.

“I don’t really care.” he said, adding he probably wouldn’t have reacted to the others getting hurt or killed. “I don’t really see death as bad; it’s a new kind of way of life.”

As to what the boy might have done afterward if the bomb had gone off and he wasn’t found, he said:

If I didn’t get caught from this, if people got hurt and I could get away from it? 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.

During an interview with St. George Police, the boy had admitted to committing the Feb. 15 incident at Hurricane High involving the school’s American flag being replaced with an ISIS-like flag and the words “ISIS is comi” spray painted on the side of the school’s vocational building.

Read more: Police don’t believe ISIS flag at high school was placed by anyone tied to Islamic State

A subsequent search warrant executed at the boy’s home found materials connected to both the homemade bomb and Hurricane High incident. St. George Police also found evidence of the boy’s research and promoting ISIS.

According the Associated Press, the FBI has determined the Islamic State wasn’t involved in either incident.

The boy remains in the juvenile detention pending his next court appearance.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

 

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12 Comments

  • Takeaction March 27, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    Lock this kid up! He doesn’t deserve to be around our children. He believes the world is full of “bad people” and THIS is his solution?! 16 years old or not, his actions should be enough to try him as an adult. And shame on his guardians for not seeing the warning signs and being more involved in his life. He had too much time on his hands or too much freedom at his home to be able to make this bomb.

    This is just one of many examples showing how guns are not to blame for school killings. Bad people will ALWAYS find a way to do evil, with or without guns. The problem starts and ends in the home.

    • redrock4 March 27, 2018 at 3:41 pm

      Guns are a major problem. It’s not going away – your guns will be limited in time. I hope that this boy finds the right treatment so that he can be reformed because you realize he will eventually get out of jail. And hope he ends up reformed and unarmed! Also don’t be so quick to blame his parents. We don’t know them.

      • Takeaction March 27, 2018 at 9:24 pm

        Redrock4, in keeping with your logic, the Boston Marathon bombers used pressure cookers, so are you hoping our government, which has sworn to protect our constitution, will ban pressure cookers as well? Bottom line, wake up and realize that evil people will use whatever means necessary to do harm.

        You keep hoping he ends up reformed, meanwhile I’ll keep myself armed so I can at least protect my family from bad men like him.

        • homer498 March 28, 2018 at 6:52 am

          Yeah ding-a-ling, if pressure cookers were killing 30 people everyday they would be gone in a week. You need to look up the definition of logic. And locking everyone up has proven to be a waste of the tax payers money. They go in, they get worse, and they come out, and pickup right where 80% of them left off. And they aren’t Psychopaths, (post down below) they are Sociopaths. The know what they are doing is wrong, and they choose to do it anyways. A Psychopath wouldn’t know what he was doing was wrong, and there is no rehabilitating them. Once discovered, they should be killed quickly & quietly. And don’t give me any “You’re a left-wing-liberal crap”. It’s not political ideology, it’s being smart about making all of us safer, and saving money. I bought my 1st Assault Rifle (H&K-93) at the age of 17, and I’ve owned dozens of them along with combat pistols, and shotguns. I shot competitively until I was about 40. Never owned a “Game” rifle, pistol or shotgun, unless the game was homosapien in nature. I’m not for any sort of pressure cooker ban, because you never know when you might want to smack someone upside the head with one! Let’s just be smart, proactive, and adaptive towards our problems.

          • comments March 28, 2018 at 12:36 pm

            There needs to be mandatory training , background checks, and a special license for civilians to buy pressure cookers. And those who qualify will need to register their pressure cooker and receive followup training every 2 years in order to retain their pressure cooker. Minimum age of 21 to buy any pressure cooker. Those w/ mental illness will be barred from owning pressure cookers.

  • comments March 27, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    Boy obviously has mental issues. Might have been bullied a lot, who knows. Is he a psychopath or just extremely troubled? I wonder…

  • Randy March 27, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    Redrock 4 mental health is the problem have you been checked ? Go commit yourself you left wing communist socialist

  • biker11 March 27, 2018 at 8:19 pm

    Will we ever hear about this persons family life? Why shouldn’t the public know who were this teenagers parents? Does their need to be deaths to find out how a teenager develops this type of mindset? We may never know.

  • Sparky March 28, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    Please don’t waste my tax dollars on this degenerate, he tried to kill many, just let a 10 cent .223 do the trick, Utah still has the firing squad I believe.

  • SunnyInUtah March 28, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    This is why we need to bring back Asylums. Don’t care if they are not PC, they are needed because we have way too many unstable and emotionally disturbed people in this world.

  • homer498 March 28, 2018 at 8:26 pm

    And while we are all sitting around waiting for 150 years before everything above can finally be done, we should be talking about; less lethal, and non lethal, methods and solutions we can implement quickly. We only need to make a shooters pain threshold go reach the point where he can’t put his finger on that AR trigger; even better drop the gun so Sparky can pick it up and use it on him.

    • Sparky March 29, 2018 at 1:59 pm

      I’ll volunteer at the PD to do it.

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