DUCHESNE, Utah, Jan. 12, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) – A 15-year-old and two 14-year-olds, who sheriff’s officials say had plans to bomb Duchesne High School in a style similar to the 1999 Columbine High student attack, are being held at the Split Mountain Youth Detention Center.
According to information from the Duchesne County Sheriff’s Office, school officials learned of the plan Thursday after a group of students came forward, “obviously stressed,” and talked to school authorities.
“At about 1:40 p.m. Thursday a small group of students told Duchesne High School Principal Stan Young that an attack was about to take place similar to the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, according to Duchesne County Sheriff’s Lt. Dela Rowley,” a statement from the Sheriff’s Office says.
The students provided Young with the names of three students involved in planning the attack and specifically mentioned Columbine, she said.
A lockdown was enacted immediately and included Duchesne Elementary School.
“Dispatchers broadcast an ‘active shooter’ call at 1:41 p.m., prompting a large law enforcement response to the high school,” the statement says.
“The first deputies reached the high school in less than two minutes. They were led to a classroom on the east end of the building’s first floor, where they took one teenage boy into custody at gunpoint within nine minutes of the initial dispatch call.”
Explosive-sniffing dogs were brought in, and no bombs or guns were detected after a thorough search. Additional officers searched the entire campus for other possible threats, finding none.
Information developed during the search led investigators to detain two other teenage boys, who were later arrested as well. The teens’ names are not being released because of their ages.
Students were released on their regular schedule.
Deputies found one small knife each on two of the teens, Rowley said. They also found one hand-drawn diagram of how to build an explosive device and another diagram for building an improvised firearm, she said.
Detectives interviewed the three teens separately. The boys were cooperative, Rowley said, “but didn’t think this was a big deal.”
While discussing the plan with investigators, one teen said he was supposed to be “the shooter” and the other two teens were “the bombers,” according to Rowley. The boys also told detectives they had been bullied in the past, she said.
Search warrants were executed Thursday night on the boys’ bedrooms. Investigators seized cellphones, tablets and “anything that connects to the Internet,” Rowley said. All of the seized electronics were taken to the Utah State Crime Lab on Friday for analysis, the lieutenant said.
The teens have been referred to 8th District Juvenile Court on one count each of threat of terrorism. The sheriff’s investigation is ongoing, Rowley said, adding that anyone with information about the incident should call the sheriff’s office at 435-738-2015.