A school surveillance video shows the Utah 16-year-old eating lunch alone March 5 with two backpacks.
He gets up from his table at 11:42 a.m., then moves into Pine View High School’s main hallway, where he mills about for a moment, reported KSL. Then the teen places one of the backpacks beside a vending machine, lights a fuse and walks away.
Court documents show other students at the high school in St. George, Utah, alerted teachers to “dark gray smoke and a strong odor coming from the backpack,” the station reported.
“One of my friends actually went and notified the police at our school, and as he was notifying, one of the teachers walked by and I stopped this teacher and said there was a backpack that had smoke coming out of it,” student Jack Whalen told the St. George News.
A school resource officer removed the backpack from the school, which was evacuated for two hours, the publication reported. A police bomb squad destroyed the backpack.
No one was hurt, but the teenager told police, “If someone got hurt, I probably wouldn’t care,” according to KSL. He added, “I would have been fine with it” if some of his classmates had been killed.
Investigators said the homemade device, which consisted of a soup can, gunpowder and three 16 oz. water bottles filled with gasoline, was designed and placed “for the purpose of spreading shrapnel in a manner that was intended to injure and/or kill as many people as possible in the vicinity of the backpack,” reported KTVX.
The 16-year-old couldn’t pinpoint a reason for the attempted bombing, KSL reported, although he had a vague plan to hang an ISIS flag at the campus afterward and to attempt to contact the terrorist organization.
“The way life is going; it’s not going well,” he told investigators, according to KSL. “There’s a bunch of bad people; I don’t like the way the world is going. I just wanted to do something to make it different.”
The teen, whom authorities did not name, was charged Monday with attempted murder, use of a weapon of mass destruction, graffiti and abuse of a flag, KTVX reported. The latter two charges are related to a Feb. 15 incident at nearby Hurricane High School.
Someone replaced the U.S. flag with an ISIS flag at the Hurricane, Utah, school and spray-painted “ISIS is comi” on a wall, reported The Salt Lake City Tribune.
Pine View High School serves about 900 students in grades 10 to 12.
“I think it is a shock to all of us that something like this has happened in one of our schools,” Steve Dunham, spokesman for the Washington County School District, told NBC News.