LAFAYETTE, Colo. (CBS4) – Police have arrested a 16-year-old male Centaurus High School student after an explosive device described as a pipe bomb was found at the Lafayette school on Monday.
Police said they worked through the evening and overnight and that the student was arrested at his Boulder County home. Authorities told CBS4 other explosives were found at the home.
Police aren’t releasing the suspect’s name because he is a juvenile. He faces felony charges that include possession of explosive parts and felony menacing and a misdemeanor charge of interfering with an educational institution by making a credible threat with a deadly weapon.
Police said there’s no clear motive at this point, but they are continuing to investigate the case.
The teen will make his first appearance in court on Wednesday afternoon.
The school was back open on Tuesday after being evacuated on Monday and the school’s principal sent a letter to parents notifying them of the arrest. School officials said that because it’s an ongoing investigation there are few details the police can release to the school about the case.
It’s not clear how powerful the explosive device was or where exactly inside the school it was found, but authorities said it’s possible that it could have been detonated remotely.
“There was definitely an explosive within the device. It was described to me by an investigator on scene to be very similar to a pipe bomb-like device,” Lafayette police spokesman Cmdr. Gene McCausey said on Monday night.
Police say a teacher inside the school first noticed the package and then took it outside, not stopping to think about their own safety.
“I think it was an impulse action on that person’s part. They saw a suspicious package and were concerned about the safety of their students and removed the threat,” McCausey said.
After the school was cleared bomb squads were brought in with a robot and bomb technicians suited up to handle the dangerous package. Officials destroyed the device in a dirt field near the school but kept pieces of it for evidence. The school and the roof were also searched extensively for any signs of any other devices.
At dusk on Monday the school’s campus was deemed safe and people were allowed to come to get their cars, which had remained in the parking lot all day.
The incident clearly rattled many students and parents.
“I started kind of thinking, ‘Wow, I wonder if something really serious is going on,’ ” student Kristin Huth told CBS4.
“It’s disconcerting to say the least,” said parent Jeff Murray. “We’ve had so much happen here in Colorado, and you can’t take anything for granted. It makes you think what kind of a mind would want to do something like that.”
On Tuesday when students were returning to class there was some discomfort coursing through the student body. Some said were worried that school was back in session so soon after the incident and another said they were unnerved to learn it was another student who police say is responsible.
“That makes me even more worried because there are a lot of males that I’m not typically fond of. They just don’t know when to stop. Centaurus is a great place — don’t get me wrong, I love this school — but there are people here that don’t know when no means no,” one student told CBS4. “I can easily see one of them doing this.”
The FBI and Boulder Sheriff’s Department assisted the Lafayette Police Department with the investigation.