The thing that gave us concern was the amount of planning and detail. —Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill
SALT LAKE CITY — Criminal charges were filed Monday against a Salt Lake man who prosecutors say planned to "kill as many people as possible" this week at a downtown mall and Sugar House movie theater.
Jack Harry Stiles, 42, was charged in 3rd District Court with threat of terrorism, a second-degree felony. His bail was set at $1 million.
Stiles had "specific, detailed plans to engage in a mass shooting" on Sept 25, the anniversary of his mother's death, according to the charging documents. He allegedly told investigators that his plan included purchasing two automatic handguns with silencers and five extra magazines, and he had already "scoped and mapped out the best spots to hide that will still allow him to kill the most amount of people."
His targets included City Creek Center, where he planned to "just randomly shoot and kill people" during lunch time, the charges state. He also targeted Sugarhouse Movies 10 where he had already scoped out the exits in the theater and planned to "shoot people's heads off" from the back of the room, prosecutors said.
Stiles allegedly said he planned to do that shooting in the early afternoon because if it was too busy, "people will run everywhere making it difficult for him to select and shoot."
His final target was going to be a UTA bus or TRAX train where he planned to place a bomb under the bus and have it detonate on Main Street right when it went under the pedestrian walkway at City Creek Center, according to the charges. Police say Stiles had been researching bomb construction.
Stiles allegedly also said he would "randomly kill people until he runs out of ammunition," but also noted that if police responded, he would surrender because they are "faster shots."
Police first learned of the plan on Aug. 12 when a West Valley police officer was dispatched to Pioneer Valley Hospital. The charging documents do not say why Stiles was at the hospital, but mention that the responding officer met with a "crisis worker" who told police what Stiles was allegedly planning.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill couldn't say Monday whether investigators believe Stiles would have actually carried through with his plan or was capable of doing it. But he said his office has to take the threat seriously because of how much Stiles had apparently thought it out.
"The thing that gave us concern was the amount of planning and detail," he said.