2 students arrested following chemical explosion at school

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BOUNTIFUL — Two Bountiful High School students were arrested Wednesday after police say they detonated four chemical bombs, exploding one of them inside the school.

The school was placed in lockdown Wednesday morning after the homemade bomb was set off by the south entrance near the staircase and foyer area.

No one was injured and the school was not damaged. But police said the students are now in a lot of trouble.

"They just weren't thinking at all about the consequences," said Bountiful Police Sgt. Gary Koehn. "They're darn lucky no one was hurt."

A second chemical bomb exploded in a nearby church parking lot. Police said two others were found detonated near the side of a road.

But resident Joe Hawkes said one was actually placed on his doorstep. He believes his doorstep was chosen at random. But Hawkes is upset because he has two young children who could have been injured.

The teens told detectives they got the idea for making the bombs from YouTube.

Their excuse was they wanted to hear the booms.

–Sgt. Gary Koehn

"Their excuse was they wanted to hear the booms," Koehn said of the reason the students said they decided to detonate one at the school.

Chris Perry, 18, and an unidentified 16-year-old girl were both arrested for investigation of four counts of using a incendiary device. Perry was booked into the Davis County Jail. The girl was booked into the Farmington Bay Detention Facility.

The incident began about 8:20 a.m. when a water bottle filled with household chemicals exploded, said Koehn. While no one was hurt, the loud boom was heard by many people.

"It was really loud, it was like a shotgun noise," said student Eddie Reyes.

"We just heard a bang," added 16-year-old student Connor Moosman. "I didn't think anything of it honestly, like something dropped on the floor, like a big textbook."

That incident followed a similar explosion in a nearby church parking lot just a few minutes earlier.

Koehn said the school was placed on lockdown and a bomb squad was called as officers conducted a sweep of the building to make sure there weren't any additional explosive devices.

I have friends who have made them, but not in school. That's dumb.

–Beto Neri

A chemical bomb is similar to a dry ice bomb. The difference, Koehn said, is that hydrochloric acid can cause injury to anyone nearby.

Several students said they had seen the devices or even made one themselves, noting they were easy to put together.

"I have friends who have made them, but not in school. That's dumb," said 17-year-old Beto Neri.

"It's very dangerous because the liquid is all toxic," added Moosman.

The explosions in the school were described as "minor" with no immediate word of damage. The school lockdown was lifted about 10:15 a.m.

Koehn said it appeared the two students in custody did not have any terroristic intent against the school or plans to hurt anybody. Investigators believe it was meant to be more of a prank.

But Koehn said no one was laughing.

"It is very serious, that's why it's a second-degree felony," he said.


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Pat Reavy


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