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Geoff Liesik, KSL TV File

3 boys face terrorism charges after Duchesne school shooting plot

By Annie Knox, KSL  |  Posted Jan 13th, 2018 @ 10:14am


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DUCHESNE — A trio of high school boys who told police they had been bullied in the past were preparing to shoot and bomb their school, but did not carry out the plan and had only small knives for weapons, authorities said.

A day after the rumored threat of a Columbine-style shooting at Duchesne High School, the teens, one 15 and the others 14, were in custody at a youth detention center Friday. Police did not release their names.

No injuries were reported.

The school and nearby Duchesne Elementary went into lockdown Thursday while officers took one of the boys into custody at gunpoint in a classroom, and detained the others. Police working with a bomb-sniffing dog found no guns or explosives at the school.

Two of the teens had small knives, though the sheriff's office would not say which. They also had a hand-drawn diagram of how to build an explosive device and another with plans for building an improvised gun.

The boys cooperated in separate police interviews, saying they "didn't think this was a big deal," Duchesne County Sheriff's Lt. Dela Rowley said in the statement. One teen said he was designated the shooter and the other two bombers, according to Rowley. The boys also told detectives they had been bullied in the past, but police did not give specifics.

Thursday afternoon, a group of students told Principal Stan Young that they believed the three were planning an attack similar to the mass shooting at Colorado's Columbine High School in 1999, when two teens killed 13 people before taking their own lives. The principal called 911 and officers responded as they would in an active-shooter situation.

The sheriff's office declined to say how the students who reported the threat knew about the plot, or if the students' understanding of a planned attack similar to Columbine was accurate.

The boys face charges of threatening terrorism in 8th District Juvenile Court, though no court date has been set.

Detectives served search warrants on their bedrooms Thursday night and brought their tablets, cellphones and other devices to the Utah State Crime Lab for analysis.

Administrators lifted the lockdowns in time for students to leave at the normal time Thursday.

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Annie Knox, KSL
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