ROY, Utah -- Authorities on Friday charged an 18-year-old man with possession of a weapon of mass destruction after they say he and another teenager planned to bomb a Utah high school.
Dallin Morgan and a 16-year-old were arrested Wednesday at Roy High School, about 30 miles north of Salt Lake City, after police were alerted to the plot by a fellow student who received ominous text messages from one of the suspects.
"If I tell you one day not to go to school, make damn sure you and . . . are not there," one message read, according to court records.
Authorities said the pair had detailed blueprints of the school and had planned to try to steal a plane at a nearby airport after their attack. The students told police they had been learning to fly on a flight simulator program on their home computers.
The plot "was months in planning," said Roy police Chief Gregory Whinham, and included plans for a device designed to "cause as much harm as possible to students and faculty" at the school.
Investigators were trying to determine just how close the two were to pulling off an attack they say was inspired by the deadly 1999 Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colo. Authorities say the younger suspect visited that school last month to interview the principal about the shootings and security measures.
Morgan was released on bond Wednesday. Authorities declined to say whether the 16-year-old, whom The Associated Press isn't naming because he's a minor, remained in custody Friday.
Local and federal authorities searched the school, two vehicles belonging to the suspects and their homes but found no explosives.
The basis for the weapon of mass destruction charge wasn't immediately clear, though one of the elements of that offense is conspiracy to use a weapon, not necessarily possessing one.
The suspects told authorities they were inspired by Columbine, but were offended when compared to them because "those killers only completed one percent of their plan," according to a probable cause statement.Roy High School sophomore Bailey Gerhardt told The Salt Lake Tribune she received text messages from one of the suspects and alerted school administrators.
"I get the feeling you know what I'm planning," read one of the messages, according to court records. "Explosives, airport, airplane.
"We ain't gonna crash it, we're just gonna kill and fly our way to a country that won't send us back to the U.S.," read one message to the girl.
While authorities are still working to determine a motive, one text message noted the suspects sought "revenge on the world."