AMERICAN FORK — A Lehi resident who claimed he was joking when he said he was going to commit a school shooting is now facing charges that are no laughing matter.
Benjamin Ryan Bailey was charged Friday with making a threat of violence, a third-degree felony, drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia, both class B misdemeanors. The case was transferred to 4th District Court in American Fork on Tuesday.
According to charging documents, on Feb. 25 — three weeks after turning 18 — Bailey "sent a friend a Facebook message that he was going to shoot up a school. The defendant admitted sending the message but told officers that it was a joke."
The friend contacted police and told officers, "The text contained a gun emoji and a crying face emoji," according to a Utah County Jail probable cause affidavit. Bailey attends Skyridge High School, the report states.3 comments on this story
Officers went to Bailey's house to question him.
"When asked what the text said Benjamin would not answer directly but just said over and over that it was a joke. Benjamin later advised that the text said he was going to do a school shooting," Lehi police wrote in a the affidavit.
Officers noted in the affidavit that Bailey has a history of depression and they were advised that Bailey "had been 'low' lately and was not in a good place," according to the report.
Bailey has no prior criminal history, the report states.