This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A Roy High School student accused of planning to bomb the school was so "fascinated" with the April 1999 shootings at Columbine High School that police say he traveled to Colorado to interview the principal there about the tragic event.
But when officers interviewing the 16-year-old boy compared him to the two Columbine students who killed 12 and injured nearly two dozen others, the teen was "offended," according to documents filed this week in 2nd District Court.
"[He] was offended by the fact that those killers only completed one percent of their plan and he was much more intelligent than that," a Roy investigator wrote in an affidavit. "[He] explained to me that he could complete his plan due to how intelligent he is."
Two days after police arrested 18-year-old Dallin Todd Morgan and a 16-year-old senior for the alleged bomb plot, which was to end with stealing an airplane and flying to freedom, Roy Police Chief Greg Whinham said investigators are still trying to determine how viable the plan was.
The 16-year-old suspect told police he had experience making a pipe bomb using "gun powder and rocket fuel" and that Morgan had three guns in his home, according to court documents. Police said they found no explosive materials while serving search warrants.
Prosecutors on Friday charged Morgan with a single count of first-degree felony possession of a weapon of mass destruction. Court officials said no felony-level charges had been filed in juvenile court against the 16-year-old as of late Friday afternoon. The boy remains in a juvenile detention center after a morning hearing was held to determine if he should be released, Whinham said.
Frank DeAngelis, the principal at Columbine for the past 16 years, said the 16-year-old struck him as "articulate" when they met for an interview Dec. 12, but that nothing in the half-hour conversation caused him alarm.
"You do look for questions and red flags and things of that nature ... just because of everything I've been through," DeAngelis told The Salt Lake Tribune on Friday. "That's the thing that was so shocking when I got the call Wednesday from Utah police. There was nothing that stood out in my mind about the interview because it was so similar to interviews I had done before."
DeAngelis said for years he has received multiple requests each week from students looking to interview him about the infamous shootings. During his interview with the Roy teen, DeAngelis said the two discussed how the school has coped in the years since the event and what programs are now in place to prevent another attack.
Police say Morgan and the 16-year-old classmate seemed to be average students, but had been planning for months to set off an explosive during a school assembly to get "revenge on the world."
In the affidavit, Roy police detailed a number of text messages allegedly sent by the 16-year-old suspect to other students. Those messages include:
• "If I tell you one day not to go to school, make damn sure you and your brother are not there."
• "Dallin is in on it. He wants revenge on the world too. ... We both want to, and we have a plan to get away with it too."
• "Another reason is that I just don't care. I'm pretty much a lying cheating manipulator with everyone except seven people. Everyone else is just a piece."
A student at the school alerted police after receiving a message from the 16-year-old suspect. The Tribune generally does not name juveniles suspected of criminal activity.
On Friday, DeAngelis called the teen who came forward to police with concerns about the suspect's messages "a hero."
"She stopped a potential tragedy," he said. "Our thoughts are with [the school]. We identify. It's just so fortunate that it was stopped."
It does not appear the 16-year-old, a staff member at the school's student newspaper, ever published an article on his trip to Columbine. But in an April 2010 story, the student outlined Roy High School's plan for handling a school shooting or similar event, specifically citing the deadly shootings at Columbine and Virginia Tech.
The boy notes in the piece that the school's cameras are not monitored at all times throughout the day. He also points to specific rooms in the school, which he calls "more vulnerable than others."
"Roy High is definitely lacking on proactive, preventative security measures that would aim to protect and serve Roy High faculty and students," the boy opined. "Yes, there have been no indications of such a catastrophic event happening at Roy High, and hopefully it remains that way. Yet, it is imperative that we take measures to be better prepared to deal with a hostile intruder, so that our Roy High community won't be like fish in a barrel in the event this does happen."
One aspect of school safety the article calls "very beneficial" for administrators in stopping potential threats: "student awareness."
In an interview with Roy High officials, Morgan discussed the plot to kill students at the school, according to court documents. Officials reportedly found a map of the school that identified where security cameras were and were the cameras' blind spots were.
On Wednesday, police executed four search warrants on two houses and two automobiles and seized four computers. Forensic specialists will evaluate the computers for evidence in the case, Whinham said.
"We believe key information will come from the computer databases," he said. "When we can evaluate what's in the computers, we can begin to fill in the blanks."
Investigators found flight simulation training programs and the suspects appeared to have logged "significant" hours on them, Roy Police spokeswoman Anna Bond said.
Follow-up interviews with students led investigators to believe the boys may have been planning an escape by stealing an airplane at the Ogden airport, Bond said.
"Explosives, airport, airplane," the 16-year-old suspect sent in a message, according to court documents. "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 US."
Morgan on Thursday posted $10,000 bail and was released from the Weber County Jail. He was reported to have been taken into jail on Friday again but bailed out by evening, jail staff said.
Normal classes were held at Roy High Thursday and Friday.
"There's an added awareness and alertness of faculty and staff, and there have been other security measures that have been implemented," Weber School District Spokesman Nate Taggart said. "But for the most part it is school as usual."
Taggart said Morgan and the 16-year-old suspect, both seniors, would each eventually have hearings to determine their status at the school, but that "precedent would say they will not be returning to Roy High."
Reporter Bob Mims contributed to this story
P Dallin Todd Morgan is scheduled to appear in 2nd District Court on Feb. 1. No charges have been filed against his 16-year-old alleged co-conspirator, whom prosecutors could seek to try as an adult if he is charged with a felony.