Middle school bomb plot suspect allegedly targeted ‘jocks’

Posted on: 12:41 pm, April 19, 2012, by , and , updated on: 08:12am, April 20, 2012

CENTENNIAL, Colo. – Police say a student from Newton Middle School planned to plant a bomb at school, and he had the materials to do it.

Another student may have stopped it from happening.

The suspect was arrested after investigators raided his home. Police say they found materials for making a bomb Wednesday.

When confronted by FOX31 Denver’s Justin Joseph, the 13-year-old boy’s mother refused to comment on why bomb making materials were allegedly found inside her home.

The student, named Patrick, allegedly told a classmate about his intent to plant a bomb at the school under the jock’s table in the cafeteria.

The classmate alerted people. The classmate’s parents did not allow their daughter to talk on-camera but they say she thought about the Columbine tragedy when the threat was made.

Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson says when deputies raided the student’s home they found the elements necessary to construct a bomb.

Neighbors say deputies removed bags of evidence.

“They were there a long time. They were there almost the entire day it was hard to determine just what was going on there was a lot of police activity,” said Pat Burtch.

People who know Patrick say he’s had a turbulent home life and they described him as angry and upset.

“He has talked about weapons he’s made. He’s mentioned how he likes to make his own bombs you know explosives,” said classmate Brison Simon.

“He was bullied,” said another student.

The principal of Newton Middle School, James O’tremba, wrote the following letter to parents:

Dear Newton Middle School Parents and Guardians,

You may hear on the news today that the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office made an arrest regarding a bomb threat at Newton Middle School.  This may be alarming to you, and I wanted to provide you with some additional information as soon as possible to help clarify.

Yesterday, some students came forward and told staff that a student had made threats against them a few weeks ago.  Upon receiving this information, school staff contacted the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s office immediately.

They responded with a number of officers, who conducted an assessment of the situation. Law enforcement told school staff that there was no active threat to the school, no reason to evacuate, and that they did not feel the need to conduct a bomb search.  However, as a precautionary measure, LPS security did a complete search of the school.  No bomb or bomb materials were found.

Once law enforcement deemed that the school was safe, they left the school campus.  Their investigation then continued off school property.  It is our understanding that law enforcement’s investigation is ongoing, and we will continue to work closely with them.

We always follow law enforcement’s guidance when safety may be an issue. Rest assured, if law enforcement had any reason to believe that student safety might have been compromised yesterday, an immediate evacuation would have occurred, and parents would have been notified.

Our procedures were followed, and the Sheriff’s department was complimentary of district staff and the school’s emergency response team for their quick and appropriate response to the situation. We want to thank the Arapahoe County’s Sherriff’s Office for their continued partnership with us.  Our shared goal is to always keep students safe.

Please contact me if you have questions.

Thank you for your continued support,
James O’Tremba
Principal