EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. – The Fountain Valley School of Colorado’s Director of Information Technology and his 16-year-old son were the two arrested Tuesday on terrorist training activities and other charges for trying to set off a “military grade” smoke bomb in the school’s cafeteria.
Bryan S. Bolding, 46, and his son, who attended the school, faces numerous charges in the case, which forced the school to evacuate more than 300 students and faculty members Tuesday afternoon.
According to an arrest affidavit obtained by our news partners at KRDO, Bolding learned in February that his contract to work at the school would not be renewed.
He and his son started building the devices about two weeks ago, in what Bolding said was originally planned to be a “prank” at graduation. The affidavit says the two instead decided to put the device in the school’s cafeteria sooner.
Bolding admitted to putting the device in the cafeteria around 11 p.m. on Monday, according to the affidavit.
Though he initially denied any knowledge of the incident, he later admitted to having chosen the cafeteria’s salad bar area as the location because it was near ventilation fans and “because that is where the most people would be seated,” according to the affidavit.
Bolding’s son told police that he and his dad had planned to set the device off with a remote in order to cause “terror and panic,” according to the affidavit.
The entire school had been at an assembly before students headed to lunch, which is when the device was discovered by another school staff member.
The staffer unhooked a battery from the device, put it in a cardboard box, and walked in down to the administrative offices.
While en route to contact school officials and security, the staffer passed Bolding’s son, who turned white when he saw what the staffer was holding, according to the affidavit.
Bolding allegedly admitted to having more smoke canisters in his residence at the school, in addition to the remote detonator.
His son admitted to police that there were similar devices and components in his vehicle at the school, and though he also initially admitted to helping his father, the affidavit says that the teen made several false statements after his admission.
Bolding initially denied his son was involved or coerced until officers told him his son had admitted to his involvement.
The affidavit also says that the two tested a similar device around 5:30 p.m. on Monday evening at the Gold’s Gym parking lot on Main Street. The metro bomb squad responded to calls of a suspicious device at the gym, the affidavit confirmed.
A spokesperson for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said the device did not have the potential to detonate. Bomb squad members and ATF agents were called in to render it safe. No one was injured in the incident.
Bolding posted a $3,000 bond Wednesday and was released from custody. For a full list of the charges the two face, click here.