By Zachariah Bryan
ARLINGTON — A teen who set off a pipe bomb in a bathroom at Arlington High School said he didn’t want to hurt anyone, charging papers say — he just wanted to cause “mayhem and disorder.”
School staff said they heard a “loud bang” around 8:30 a.m. Oct. 22. Smoke spewed out of a bathroom, and a school resource officer reported finding an explosive device that looked like a white pipe with one end blown off.
The campus went into lockdown as Arlington police investigated. Students were transported by bus to a nearby middle school, where they were released to go home.
Officers found a possible suspect after reviewing security footage. The suspect, a junior at the school, told officers he acted alone. Staff searched him and reportedly found a green-handled kitchen knife.
The student said he had been bullied and had broken up with a girlfriend over the summer. Previously, he said, he thought about bringing knives and throwing stars to school to stab other students, papers say. He said he tested the “sharpness, quality and condition” of the knives. He claimed to know where the major human organs were, so he wouldn’t kill anyone, prosecutors wrote.
The teenager said he had been learning how to make pipe bombs on the internet since before his sophomore year. He reportedly used more than 100 sparklers in the bomb he set off in the bathroom. On Aug. 26, he posted a photo of what appeared to be an explosive on his Instagram account, captioned “time to make a bomb.”
The boy said he was “triggered” by an argument with his ex-girlfriend on Oct. 21, and decided to set in motion plans to bring a pipe bomb to school.
He scouted locations around the school where he thought the explosive wouldn’t harm anyone, he reportedly said.
The morning of Oct. 22, the student placed the pipe bomb underneath a toilet in a handicap stall then went to class, prosecutors wrote. He returned a half-hour later. Nobody else was in the bathroom. So, he reportedly said, he lit the fuse and walked out.
On the way back to class, the boy said he heard a muffled explosion. He recalled purposefully flinching, so his reaction seemed normal.
He claimed he didn’t make any more bombs. But the Washington State Patrol Interagency Bomb Squad obtained a search warrant for his house and reportedly found two more — one was a black pipe bomb larger than the one found at the school, the other was a soccer ball packed with fireworks.