Student arrested in St. George bomb threat a member of Jr. ROTC, researched ISIS

Student arrested in St. George bomb threat a member of Jr. ROTC, researched ISIS. (File photo: KUTV)

UPDATE: Teen arrested after a homemade explosive was found at high school faces three felonies including possession or use of a weapon of mass destruction, the threat of terrorism, and graffiti. The teen also faces one misdemeanor charge of abuse of a flag.

ST. GEORGE, Utah (KUTV) – A student arrested Tuesday morning after a homemade explosive device was found at Pine View High School on Monday morning, was interested in terrorist group ISIS, according to police.

Police say this is a case law enforcement in southern Utah never thought they would encounter.

“I think this is the first time anything like this has ever happened in our community,” officer Ken Thompson with Hurricane City Police Department said.

RELATED: What turns a Utah student, into an ISIS soldier?

According to Thompson, Hurricane PD is working closely with St. George Police Department to find out more about the juvenile who allegedly raised an ISIS flag and vandalized Hurricane High School on Feb. 15 and then planted a homemade explosive inside a backpack and attempted to detonate it in the hallway of Pine View High School Monday.

The school evacuated its 1,100 students because of this bomb threat. A number of agencies, including a K9 team and bomb squad, were on scene and successfully disarmed the explosive.

According to St. George police, the suspect was arrested and charged for the manufacture, possession, sale, use or attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction prohibited.

More charges, including federal charges, may be pending, according to Lona Trombley with St. George Police Department.

“Its intent was to cause severe to deadly injury or damaged property,” Trombley said.

2News discovered that the suspect lives in Hurricane but travels to Pine View High School to be a part of the Jr. ROTC program that’s offered. The Washington County School District said he has been in the program for a year and a half now.

During the interview with investigators, they said the suspect admitted to taking the American flag down and replacing it with an ISIS flag at Hurricane High School.

The suspect also admitted to spray painting "ISIS IS COMI" on the school that same morning, thought to be a shortened version of "Isis is coming."

After the interview police served a search warrant on the boy's home in Hurricane.

According to Trombley, they partnered with Hurricane police and found bomb making materials inside the home.

Authorities discovered that the boy was researching information and expressing interest in ISIS. Police also said they found evidence that the juvenile was promoting the jihadist terrorist organization.

Hurricane police officials said in that search they found materials that connected the student with the graffiti incident back on Feb. 15.

“None of the information that we located indicated that he’s an actual member of ISIS,” Trombley said.

According to police, the suspect is currently being held in Washington County juvenile detention.

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