Utah teens arrested in alleged school bombing plot

January 26, 2012 - 7:35 PM
School Bomb Plot

In this police booking photo released by Weber County Sheriff's Dept. showing Dallin Morgan, 18, a high school student who was arrested with another student on Wednesday Jan. 25,2012 on conspiracy charges after authorities uncovered a plot to use explosives during a school assembly. (AP Photo/Weber County Sheriff's Dept.)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah high school student bragged to police that he was smarter than the Columbine killers and was plotting with an older student to set off a bomb during a school assembly and escape in a stolen plane, court documents say.

Dallin Morgan, 18, and the 16-year-old boy were pulled out of school Wednesday and arrested after authorities learned of the plot, Roy police spokeswoman Anna Bond said Thursday.

The students prepared by logging hundreds of hours on flight simulator software on their home computers, and they planned to take a plane at Ogden Hinckley Airport after the bombing, Bond said.

The juvenile hinted at the plan in text messages to a friend, writing that both suspects wanted "revenge on the world" and "we have a plan to get away with it too."

He hinted at the plan by writing "explosives, airport, airplane" and added, "We're just gonna kill and fly our way to a country that won't send us back to the US," according to a probable cause statement police filed to make the arrests late Wednesday.

The Associated Press isn't naming the 16-year-old because he is a minor.

The juvenile told investigators he was so "fascinated" by the 1999 Columbine High School massacre that he visited the Littleton, Colo., school and interviewed the principal about the shootings that killed 13 people. Roy police said the principal, Frank DeAngelis, confirmed that the boy made his visit Dec. 12.

Morgan was being held on $10,000 bail at Weber County jail on suspicion of conspiracy to commit mass destruction. The juvenile was in custody at Weber Valley Detention Center on the same charge. Prosecutors were weighing possible additional charges.

Both students had "absolute knowledge of the security systems and the layout of the school," Bond said. "They knew where the security cameras were. Their original plan was to set off explosives during an assembly. We don't know what date they were planning to do this, but they had been planning it for months."

School officials said there were no imminent plans to hold a school assembly.

Local and federal agents searched the school, two vehicles belonging to the suspects and their homes but found no explosives. The FBI is examining the suspects' computers, police said.

The parents of both students "woke up in the middle of a nightmare," Bond said. "They've been very cooperative."

The other Roy High School student who received text messages tipped authorities to the plot Wednesday, said the school's safety specialist, Nate Taggart.

The student "came forward and had some suspicions but not a lot of information — enough that it gave administration the ability to make some connections and identify the students involved," Taggart said.

The school has about 1,500 students.

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Associated Press writer Michelle Rindels in Las Vegas contributed to this report.