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Student charged in bomb plot while tensions rise at Roy High School

Columbine principal met with Hoggan

Published: Saturday, Jan. 28 2012 12:04 a.m. MST

Roy police detectives and school officials in front of Roy High School, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012. Two students where arrested Wednesday night for  investigation of conspiracy to commit mass destruction as part of an alleged bomb plot at the school. Police say the students had elaborate plans to set off explosives at an assembly and steal an airplane. (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Roy police detectives and school officials in front of Roy High School, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012. Two students where arrested Wednesday night for investigation of conspiracy to commit mass destruction as part of an alleged bomb plot at the school. Police say the students had elaborate plans to set off explosives at an assembly and steal an airplane. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

ROY — A girl who some students believed reported two fellow students who allegedly plotted to bomb Roy High School to authorities, said she felt threatened Friday while at school.

Police escorted 16-year-old Bailey Gerhardt home from the high school after she said she spent the day in a supervised classroom, away from peers who allegedly taunted her, according to the girl's mother, Dianna Gerhardt.

"If she did go turn them in, she's not being a 'nark,' she's protecting other people in the school," Gerhardt said, adding that she was afraid for her daughter's safety.

Additional security was in place at the school Friday, according to a school district spokesman. Students there were encouraged to notify personnel if they saw or heard anything suspicious.

Dianna Gerhardt talks about her daughter, Bailey, who felt threatened Friday at Roy High School. Police say two classmates were planning to bomb the school. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News) Dianna Gerhardt talks about her daughter, Bailey, who felt threatened Friday at Roy High School. Police say two classmates were planning to bomb the school. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

The tense atmosphere on campus came as charges were filed Friday against senior Dallin Morgan, 18. He was charged with use of a weapon of mass destruction, a first-degree felony punishable by a maximum term of five years to life in prison.

Police did not locate any explosives, but the elements of the charge against him include possessing, displaying, attempting to use, soliciting the use of, or conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction, or that he assisted, encouraged or solicited someone else to do the same. Morgan, who bailed out of the Weber County Jail Wednesday night less than three hours after he was booked, was scheduled to appear in court Feb. 1.

Charges have not been filed against fellow senior Joshua Hoggan, 16, who was taken to Weber Valley Detention Center, a juvenile detention facility, Wednesday night. A spokeswoman would not confirm if he remained at the facility Friday.

Roy police detectives talk with students as they leave Roy High School, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012. Two students where arrested Wednesday night for  investigation of conspiracy to commit mass destruction as part of an alleged bomb plot at the school. Police say the students had elaborate plans to set off explosives at an assembly and steal an airplane. (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Roy police detectives talk with students as they leave Roy High School, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012. Two students where arrested Wednesday night for investigation of conspiracy to commit mass destruction as part of an alleged bomb plot at the school. Police say the students had elaborate plans to set off explosives at an assembly and steal an airplane. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

According to Roy police, there was more than one person who received threatening texts from Hoggan, hinting of a plan to harm people at an upcoming assembly and warning some students to stay away.

The Weber County School District hand-delivered no trespassing orders to the homes of the two accused in the bomb plot. Both Morgan and Hoggan are prohibited from accessing any district-owned facility. The two individuals are also temporarily suspended from school, district spokesman Nate Taggart said.

Taggart said it is protocol to issue the orders and both students will have the opportunity in the coming weeks to appear before school officials to explain themselves.

Friends and acquaintances of Hoggan expressed both disappointment and support for the teen on his Facebook page. While some questioned Hoggan's motives, one relative said, "he never threatened anyone he's my family I know him he would never do it for real yeah he should not of said any of that stuff but if you have nothing nice to say stay off his page write on your own wall please our family is dealing with enough thank you (sic)."

A Roy City police officer leaves Roy High School Friday, January 27, 2012.  Roy High School student Dallin Morgan, 18, was charged with a first-degree felony Friday in Ogden's 2nd District Court.  Morgan is accused of plotting to bomb the high school with fellow student Joshua Hoggan, 16. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News) A Roy City police officer leaves Roy High School Friday, January 27, 2012. Roy High School student Dallin Morgan, 18, was charged with a first-degree felony Friday in Ogden's 2nd District Court. Morgan is accused of plotting to bomb the high school with fellow student Joshua Hoggan, 16. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

Roy High School was in session Friday, although some parents and students remained upset about the school's response to the alleged threats and subsequent arrests.

"I think the way the school handled this situation was wrong," said Christy Tobler, a parent of a Roy High School student.

"Kids were not informed, parents were not informed and if this is as big as they claim, kids should have been sent home while the school was being searched. As a parent, I should have been informed of the risk."

Taggart said the Weber School District does not have a policy in place concerning when or how to inform parents during such an event.

A letter from district officials was sent to parents Thursday, informing them that law enforcement was investigating the threats and any potential harm to students. The letter was sent to some parents in the morning and a second updated version was sent to others sometime after noon.

Students leave Roy High School Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012. Two students where arrested Wednesday night for  investigation of conspiracy to commit mass destruction as part of an alleged bomb plot at the school. Police say the students had elaborate plans to set off explosives at an assembly and steal an airplane. (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Students leave Roy High School Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012. Two students where arrested Wednesday night for investigation of conspiracy to commit mass destruction as part of an alleged bomb plot at the school. Police say the students had elaborate plans to set off explosives at an assembly and steal an airplane. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

"Immediate action was taken to secure Roy High School and clear it of any potential threats," Roy High Principal Gina Butters said in the letter. She mentioned that multiple agencies, including the Weber County Bomb Disposal Unit, Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, and K-9 units from around northern Utah were involved in the ongoing investigation.

"No items were discovered and Roy High is in session as normal," the letter stated.

Both Hoggan and Morgan are accused of making an elaborate plan to detonate explosives at the school, kill fellow students during an upcoming Roy High assembly and then escape in a stolen plane from an Ogden airport, police said.

Text messages indicated Hoggan wanted "revenge on the world" and that Morgan felt the same way, court documents state.

Students leave Roy High School, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012. Two students where arrested Wednesday night for  investigation of conspiracy to commit mass destruction as part of an alleged bomb plot at the school. Police say the students had elaborate plans to set off explosives at an assembly and steal an airplane. (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Students leave Roy High School, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012. Two students where arrested Wednesday night for investigation of conspiracy to commit mass destruction as part of an alleged bomb plot at the school. Police say the students had elaborate plans to set off explosives at an assembly and steal an airplane. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

Gerhardt said her daughter was "shaken up bad about this," and actually begged to not have to go to school on Friday.

Bailey Gerhardt told her mother that she "knew part of what (Hoggan) was going to do, but she didn't think he was gutsy enough to carry it out," Dianna Gerhardt said. The two former friends had limited interaction recently.

"Because of the things he's done and the things he's told us he did as a kid, she's still afraid there is something there that the police overlooked at the school," the mother said.

Hoggan allegedly drove erratically with Bailey and another friend in a vehicle in October. Gerhardt said her daughter was afraid for her life at that time.

"He did a lot of things a normal kid would not do. Like studying Columbine. I mean, who would do that?" she said.

Roy police detectives walk in front of Roy High School, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012. Two students where arrested Wednesday night for  investigation of conspiracy to commit mass destruction as part of an alleged bomb plot at the school. Police say the students had elaborate plans to set off explosives at an assembly and steal an airplane. (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Roy police detectives walk in front of Roy High School, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012. Two students where arrested Wednesday night for investigation of conspiracy to commit mass destruction as part of an alleged bomb plot at the school. Police say the students had elaborate plans to set off explosives at an assembly and steal an airplane. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

Columbine High School Principal Frank DeAngelis confirmed Friday that he met with Hoggan on Dec. 15, after the 16-year-old told him he was writing a story for his school newspaper about the 1999 shooting incident.

DeAngelis said he gets a lot of requests from students researching events that took place at the Littleton, Colo., school.

"The questions being asked were not out of the ordinary," he said of his roughly 15-minute encounter with Hoggan, adding that the teen "was very articulate."

DeAngelis said Hoggan wanted to know about things that have changed, efforts to help the community heal and programs that have been put in place to protect the school. DeAngelis said that while he "likes to help kids" with projects they are working on, he is going to limit interviews in the future because of what happened with Hoggan.

Ogden-Hinckley Airport is pictured here on Friday, January 27, 2012. It was featured in a plot by two Roy High School students to allegedly blow up the school and flee in a stolen plane. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News) Ogden-Hinckley Airport is pictured here on Friday, January 27, 2012. It was featured in a plot by two Roy High School students to allegedly blow up the school and flee in a stolen plane. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

Hoggan told his school resource officer that he was "offended by the fact that those (Columbine) killers only completed 1 percent of their plan and he was much more intelligent than that," according to a police affidavit.

Hoggan, who is an editor at Roy High's student newspaper, never published an article regarding Columbine.

Contributing: Mike Anderson

E-mail: wleonard@desnews.com, Twitter: wendyleonards

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