Yesterday, attentive students at Pine View High School, in St. George, alerted a teacher and a resource officer about a backpack in the cafeteria that had smoke emanating from it. The resource officer just happens to be a member of the regional bomb squad.
Students at Pine View High School were evacuated to the football field just after the lunch period. During the evacuation, additional St. George Police officers, the bomb squad, Washington County Sheriff’s deputies and a St. George fire crew, were contacted and arrived on scene. Additionally, the FBI and the Dixie Regional Medical Center, who has a bomb-sniffing K-9 were also contacted but were not on scene at the time of the evacuation.
St. George police have identified a person of interest in this incident, and this person has also been identified as a suspect in the February 15 incident at Hurricane High School, where the American flag was replaced with the ISIS flag, and ISIS graffiti was written across school buildings.
Due to the age of the suspect, authorities are not releasing the person’s name.
Authorities deployed bomb-disposal robots in aiding in the identification and disposal of the device. During a press conference yesterday, St. George Police Capt. Mike Giles stated that “…there was an object in the backpack that had the potential to injure persons or damage property”, which warranted the actions and responses taken.
Parents were advised to not pick up their children until further notice from the school, in order to ensure safety and investigation/disposal operations went smoothly.
A warrant was issued and served to the suspect’s home where authorities found materials matching those of the device. According to the St. George Police Department’s Facebook page, “…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.”
No injuries or damage was reported in yesterday’s incident. The suspect was arrested and is in juvenile detention. According to today's update on the St. George Police Department Facebook page, the suspect is currently being “…charged with [Utah Code] 76-10-402: Manufacture, possession, sale, use or attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction prohibited. More charges may be pending, to include charges from Hurricane City Police Department” stemming from the February 15th incident at Hurricane High School.