A masked intruder identified as a former Utah State University Eastern basketball coach is accused of entering Eagle Mountain Elementary School in Utah and saying the students should leave if they did not want to get hurt, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
He was taken into custody several hours after the incident began.
Photos showed him in what people said appeared to be Middle Eastern garb.
The man identified himself as Christopher Craig, and news reporters said he had once driven onto a school playground. The El Paso Times said he allegedly sent a note to the media threatening the Utah school on September 19. The newspaper said that it and other media received an email from Craig stating that he “will call 911 with a threat of an explosive and drive onto my 9yr olds elementary school, Eagle Valley Elementary, with a True Explosive.” The El Paso Times said Craig also wrote that he “was born into this world under the slave name of Christopher Craig. Currently, I am known as The Radical Islamic Jihadist Muhammad Allah Al-Khidr.”
A newspaper article from the playground incident in 2014 in the Deseret News said Craig “was wearing what we would term Arabic-style clothing, complete with a turban on his head.” That article also said he was a former Utah State University Eastern basketball coach and was arrested after the school playground incident. The Associated Press wrote in 2013 that churches were warned about the man, who was calling himself an “Islamic Jihadist.” In that incident, Craig allegedly went around “saying that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and members of the Catholic Church ‘would be destroyed’ in the coming weeks,” said AP.
The Salt Lake Tribune said the school in Eagle Mountain, Utah was then evacuated of students and employees, who are all safe. However, the bizarre situation was still unfolding with reports of police snipers at the scene.
One person posted videos from outside the school on Facebook live. Watch:
Snipers were reportedly at the school.
She later wrote, “So I can’t go live again guys I was evacuated by the PD with my family. What I have up is what I have. Eagle mountain is shut down no one in. We don’t know much right now. No idea if anyone is in there we where told they evacuated the kids.”
There were reports that the masked man had explosives.
The Daily Herald said the man entered the school office at 2:15 p.m. and said, “evacuate the kids and no one will get hurt.”
One woman posted photos and said the incident was unfolding across the street from her house.
Craig was the head coach at Utah State University Eastern in Price from 2007 to 2010 and left to become an assistant at Northern Colorado University in Greeley and then head coach at Midland College in Texas. He resigned after officials allegedly “end-of-the-world postings” he had made.
This article will be updated as more information is available.
Christopher Craig, a former Utah State Eastern basketball coach, allegedly says he is a "radical Islamic Jihadist." He is accused of entering Eagle Mountain elementary school in Utah wearing a mask.Click here to read more