Southern Utah

Teenage bomb suspect appears in court

ST. GEORGE (News4Utah) - The teenager accused of bringing a homemade bomb into Pine View High School appeared in court. 

Police say multiple factors played into the positive outcome after the explosive was found and that there were many behind-the-scene heroes.

Police say things could have been much worse if it weren't for perceptive students, quick thinking staff and a highly-trained K-9.
"It makes me worried that there's dangerous stuff at our school," said Pine View High School student Jack Whalen. 
Whalen knew something wasn't right that Monday at lunch when he and other students noticed a backpack in the cafeteria.
"They told me there was a bag with matches in it, and it was smoking, and as I walked by I looked inside of it and I could see the matches inside of it. ... One of the teachers walked by and I stopped this teacher to tell her there was a backpack that had smoke coming out of it," said Whalen. 
The school resource officer quickly called in teams including the Washington County Bomb Squad and Jax.
"Jax is an added tool in Southern Utah being an explosives dog," said Allan Miles, a Security Officer and Jax's handler at Intermountain Dixie Regional Medical Center. 
Jax is a bomb detecting K9 with Dixie Regional Medical Center. His job is to identify explosive devices. 
"Jax and his handler were on a day off with their family and they choose to come in anyway," said Lona Trombley with St. George Police. 

"Your hat just goes on and you go to work. You don't question it," said Miles. 

Sixteen-month-old Jax has gone through rigorous training, but this was his first real incident involving a bomb.

"Nervous, but he performed like he was supposed to. Very confident in what he does," said Miles. 

In court Wednesday, the judge told the teen he faces charges for possession or use of a weapon of mass destruction, a felony charge for a threat of terrorism, and a felony charge for graffiti of Hurricane High School. 

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