3 teens arrested after lockdown at Duchesne High School

3 teens arrested after lockdown at Duchesne High School (Photo: Duchesne High School website)

(KUTV)- According to police, a 15-year-old and two 14-year-olds are being held at the Split Mountain Youth Detention Center after an incident Thursday that led to a lockdown at two Duchesne schools.

Around 1:40 PM Thursday, a 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," Duchesne County Sheriff’s Lt. Dela Rowley said.

The students provided Young with the names of three students involved in planning the attack and specifically mentioned Columbine High School.

According to Duchesne County Sheriff's Office, Young described the reporting students as "obviously stressed," immediately put the school on lockdown and called Central Dispatch to report the threat. Duchesne Elementary School was also placed on lockdown as a precaution.

Police say, the first deputies reached the high school in less than two minutes and were led to a classroom on the east end of the building's first floor. There they took one teenage boy into custody at gunpoint.

Additional officers searched the campus for other threats and found nothing alarming. According to a press release, information developed during the search led investigators to detain two other teenage boys, who were later arrested as well.

Because of how young the teens are, their ages and names are not being released by police.

Rowley says, they found one small knife each on two of the teens, and found one hand-drawn diagram of how to build of an explosive device with plans for building an improvised firearm. The school was searched by a Uintah County sheriff’s K-9 that is trained to detect explosives. No firearms or explosives were found.

According to Rowley, "detectives interviewed the three teens separately, and the boys were cooperative. But, didn't think it 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," Rowley said. The boys also told detectives they had been bullied in the past.

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, and anyone with information about the incident should call 435-738-2015.

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