Search warrants detail student’s alleged bomb, shooting plot against Weber High School
PLEASANT VIEW — A 15-year-old student was planning to make explosives and shoot people in an attack on Weber High School, according to search warrants filed by Weber County sheriff’s detectives who arrested the teen.
The girl was arrested by the Weber County Sheriff’s Office on Sept. 24, a day after the agency received a tip from the FBI, sheriff’s spokesperson Lt. Cortney Ryan said Wednesday. He said she is charged in 2nd District Juvenile Court with first-degree felony possession or manufacture of a weapon of mass destruction.
“I need guns. And I need bullets. And I need alcohol. And I need bombs. … And I need to kill all of these f—-,” the girl allegedly said in a diary entry found by investigators. She allegedly said the shooting would be, as Ryan described it, “a Columbine-style mass casualty event.”
The girl confided to someone in electronic messages that she had started planning to “shoot up” Weber High and that the crime would be her way to “make my mark on society,” one warrant said.
Detectives found on her phone a video of her lighting a substance on her home’s driveway and describing it as napalm. A diary entry said she had made napalm and was storing it in a shed. A search warrant said it was evident “she has begun preparing some type of terroristic event.”
Ryan said no firearms or bomb-making materials were found. However, the electronic records and the video of the girl making and lighting napalm, an incendiary mixture, were evidence of an intended attack plot, according to search warrants.
The sheriff’s office and the Weber School District issued brief press releases Tuesday evening, revealing a threatened plot and arrest, in response to news media attention to the case, district spokesperson Lane Findlay said Wednesday.
“The reason we didn’t release it earlier is that we had a good grasp on the case and there was no further threat to the community and the school,” Ryan said. “We don’t believe there are any co-conspirators.”
Findlay said the investigation has been in progress for several weeks, involving the district, the sheriff’s office, Pleasant View police and the county attorney’s office. Because law enforcement took the lead and the district was protecting the “very sensitive” privacy rights of the student, public disclosure of the matter was not being considered at the time, he said.
“As this has been ongoing, we felt that because the threat had been neutralized and law enforcement intervened, there was no imminent danger, and there would not be a release of information until it was appropriate,” he said. “We wanted to be thorough and not jeopardize that investigation and the process.”
Findlay is part of a threat management team that works to detect dangers, to find out “how can there be an early intervention, how can we help those students,” he said. “There are a lot of different factors when someone starts on this path, this pathway to violence. Someone doesn’t just wake up one day and say, ‘I’m going to do this.'”
According to Findlay, the threat team looks for different motivators for school attacks, based on cases elsewhere. “Sometimes it’s a grievance. The notoriety that people receive — that actually becomes a motivator, and we don’t ever want to play into that,” he said.
The Standard-Examiner usually does not identify juvenile suspects until they are charged in district court.