COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – An El Paso County, Colorado school officials faces a slew of criminal charges after he allegedly goaded his son into helping him set off a smoke bomb at a private boarding school.
Police allege Bryan Bolding learned in February that the private Fountain Valley School would not renew his contract as the school’s information technology director for next school year and plotted for weeks to set off a “military-grade” smoke bomb in the school’s cafeteria on Tuesday, KKTV reports.
Bolding, 46, allegedly duped his 16-year-old son into helping with the prank, which was initially concocted to target the school’s graduation ceremony on May 27, but the two later decided to set it off in the school’s cafeteria instead.
Police believe the incident on Tuesday is connected to a smoke bomb that detonated at Sonic and Gold’s Gym on Monday – a test run before targeting the school, El Paso County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Jacqueline Kirby said.
The device used at Fountain Valley, however, failed to go off. A SWAT team that responded to the school initially thought it was a live bomb and evacuated about 300 students, faculty and staff to a nearby church around 3 p.m.
Five hours later, officials announced the “bomb” was a dud and gave the all-clear around 9:30 p.m., KDVR reports.
According to KKTV:
When detectives interviewed Bolding’s son, he initially denied having any knowledge of the previous events that happened at the school. When detectives confronted him with more specific information from witnesses, he admitted that his father taught him how to build the devices about two weeks earlier. He said their initial plan was to detonate a device at the upcoming graduation and fill the tent with smoke. They later agreed to change their plan and put the device in the cafeteria. Bolding’s son said the device failed to ignite.
Bolding’s son went on to say the reason they wanted to detonate the device was to cause “terror and panic.” Bolding initially professed his ignorance before confessing he had planned the event for a few weeks. Bolding told detectives he wanted to this, “just to set off a smoke bomb.”
Both Bolding and his son now face criminal charges, though the details of the 16-year-old’s case were not released because he’s a minor.
Bolding faces felony charges for terrorist training activities, conspiracy, possession and use of a hoax incendiary device, child abuse without injury and menacing, CBS News reports.
School officials did not respond to the news site’s calls and emails for comment.
Fountain Valley School serves a total of about 235 boarding and day students on 1,100 acres about 10 miles south of Colorado Springs. Tuition for boarding students is about $54,000 a year, according to CBS News.