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Teen suspected in Utah bomb plot had visited Columbine principal

January 31, 2012 |  6:00 am

Columbine memorial
After the Columbine High School massacre, Principal Frank DeAngelis spoke to most anyone who asked about the 1999 shooting rampage. He wanted to help prevent similar tragedies.

So he didn’t flinch when a 16-year-old Utah boy showed up at the suburban Denver high school in December, saying he was writing a story for his school newspaper. The boy wanted details about the day Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold gunned down 12 classmates and one teacher before killing themselves, and what the school did afterward to beef up security.

“He asked the same questions I get from many callers and visitors asking about the shooting,” DeAngelis told the Associated Press.

What happened next made him scrap his open-door policy.

About a month after he visited DeAngelis, the boy and a classmate were arrested on suspicion of planning to blow up their suburban Salt Lake City high school, steal a small plane and fly to safety. In a text message, the 16-year-old said he and fellow senior Dallin Todd Morgan, 18, wanted “revenge on the world,” the Salt Lake Tribune reported

"You do look for questions and red flags and things of that nature ... just because of everything I’ve been through,” DeAngelis told the Tribune. "There was nothing that stood out in my mind about the interview because it was so similar to interviews I had done before."

Authorities foiled the scheme when a fellow student told school officials that she had been warned to stay home on a certain day.

It remains unclear how much of the plan was braggadocio. For example, the 16-year-old told authorities he had experience making explosives from “gun powder and rocket fuel,” but they found no bomb-making materials while serving search warrants.

When police interviewed the 16-year-old and compared the plot to the Columbine killings, the boy was not flattered, the Tribune said

“[He] was offended by the fact that those killers only completed 1 percent of their plan and he was much more intelligent than that,” an investigator wrote in an affidavit. “[He] explained to me that he could complete his plan due to how intelligent he is.”


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Photo: On the 10th anniversary of the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, a visitor looks at memorials for the 12 students and one teacher who were slain. Credit: Jack Dempsey / Associated Press