There’s a contingent in America that believes banning guns would prevent mass violence at schools. After the tragic attack in Parkland, Florida, where 17 were killed, members have been using every platform available.
In an interview with Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” he charged: “You’re just talking about gun control, which is going to just give you more ratings. Today it’s not about guns, it’s about the safety in our schools.”
Now it is that very emphasis on safety, and the alertness of some students, that is being credited with defusing a potentially lethal situation at a school in Utah. It was a threat that no gun laws would have affected, because it was a bomb.
A KUTV report from St. George, Utah, said police are crediting “extremely perceptive” students and fast-acting law enforcement for stopping the threat in its tracks.
Lona Trombly of the St. George Police Department said, “After examining the device, bomb squad members indicted that if it had detonated, the device had the potential to cause significant injury or death.”
The students had noticed an unattended bag near a vending machine in the school. The bag was “sizzling” and emitting smoke.
“I could smell a smoke smell and my friends actually saw it before I did,” said Jack Whalen, the teen who found the bag.
He looked inside, and he promptly informed the school’s resource office, which called in law enforcement.
Soon, the Washington County Bomb Squad was disarming the device.
The suspect, a student at the school, has been charged with bringing a homemade bomb to Pine View High School in a backpack.
Police said more charges may come. They said they searched the suspect’s home and found materials consistent with making a bomb, as well as an expressed interest in ISIS and terror.
They also said they found information that appears to link the suspect to a previous incident at a school in nearby Hurricane, Utah, where an American flag was torn down and slashed, and replaced with an ISIS flag.
The name of the suspect, who was detained, was not released because he is a minor
St. George police said in a statement: “Based on our investigation we can confirm this was a failed attempt to detonate a homemade explosive. It was also determined that the male had been researching information and expressing interest in ISIS and promoting the organization.”
Unlike the Parkland shooting, where local police and the FBI both had been warned about the shooter’s threats to kill people at school and ignored them, St. George police said the smart choices of students prevented the incident from being worse.
“Their immediate action played a large role in this incident ending with no injuries,” the police statement said.
Authorities reported the suspect allegedly left the device in a cafeteria around lunchtime Monday, and there were numerous students near it. Police said the student “had attempted to light the fuse so the bomb would explode.”
Steve Dunham, a district spokesman, said that since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, additional officers have been in the Utah district’s schools.
He praised the students and the officers for reacting quickly.