On Monday afternoon, students were forced to evacuate Eagle Valley Elementary in Eagle Mountain, Utah (about 40 miles south of Salt Lake City) after a man wearing a turban and long green robe claimed to be carrying a “large amount of explosives” in his car just steps away from the school. The school district is heavily Mormon, making the possibility of a targeted hate crime likely.
Picture of man who allegedly made bomb threat taken from a woman's Facebook live feed pic.twitter.com/nO3gCiQDRz— Chris Jones (@jonesnews) September 19, 2016
The suspect walked into the school at 2:15 pm local time, telling administrators, “Evacuate the kids and no one will get hurt,” according to Alpine School District spokesman Kimberly Bird. The school immediately complied, evacuating kids as young as five from the area. The students were taken to two safe zones: one at the City Center and another at a friendly neighbor’s home.
All parents of Eagle Valley students meet at LDS stake center on Ira Hodges Pkwy. Kids will be bussed there.— Spencer Cannon (@SGTCannonPIO) September 19, 2016
None of the students were injured. All are accounted for, say administrators.
After a short manhunt at the school, police apprehended the suspect. He may face terrorism charges.
According to local media, the suspect reportedly identified himself as Christopher Craig, a self-described “Islamist jihadist” who issued direct threats against the Christian community, specifically Mormons and Catholics, at various locations across Arizona and Colorado roughly two years ago. Police have yet to confirm the suspect's identity.
The El Paso Times reported that at approximately 1:10 pm, Craig sent an email to the El Paso Times and other local outlets warning the community about what he planned on doing later that day. Surprisingly, Craig claimed that his own son was attending the school he planned on delivering explosives to. "I will call 911 with a threat of an explosive and drive onto my 9yr olds elementary school, Eagle Valley Elementary, with a True Explosive," Craig wrote in the email. "I was born into this world under the slave name of Christopher Craig. Currently, I am known as The Radical Islamic Jihadist Muhammad Allah Al-Khidr."
My reason for writing Today is because of my pending arrest and hunger strike which begins when I press send on this Discourse of Truth. In 2 hours, call Eagle Mountain PD in Eagle Mountain, UT if you think I am bluffing. Ask them.
SCHOOL EVACUATION: Man identifies himself as Christopher Craig. arrested once in carbon Co, for driving his car onto a school playground— Chris Jones (@jonesnews) September 19, 2016
Craig has a history of issuing violent threats against non-believers. “Craig was accused of entering a classroom at Eastern Arizona College on July 10, raising a Bible in the air and responding with obscenities after asking the instructor whether he was Mormon,” reported Fox News in July of 2013. “College spokesman Todd Haynie says a female counselor had a similar encounter."
Craig warned that Mormons and Catholics “would be destroyed" imminently. At the time, police dismissed the threat, suggesting there was no immediate danger to public safety.