Cops: Ex-College Coach Threatened to Blow Up School

He told Utah school he had trunk full of explosives
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 21, 2016 12:11 AM CDT
Cops: Ex-College Coach Threatened to Blow Up School
This photo provided by the Utah County Sheriff's Office shows Christopher Dewitt Craig.   (Utah County Sheriff's Office)

A Utah man who was once a promising college basketball coach was arrested after police said he forced the evacuation of an elementary school with what he claimed was a trunk full of explosives.The suspect, Christopher Dewitt Craig, 35, was a player and coach until police in Colorado issued a warning about three years ago saying he'd been describing himself as an "Islamist jihadist," the AP reports. The warning came months after his resignation from a head coaching job at Midland College in Texas. Craig drove up to the school in Eagle Mountain, Utah, on Monday wearing a long, light-green tunic, a white cloth wrapped around his head, and a knit face mask, police say.

Craig told a school secretary to evacuate the building, then spoke to police negotiators about "the evils of society" before he surrendered himself, says Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon. No explosives were found in the car. Those who knew Craig described a talented coach whose career was on the rise before it was apparently derailed by personal struggle, according to the El Paso Times. "This is an American tragedy," says Rus Bradburd, a former assistant basketball coach at the University of Texas at El Paso. "He just needs help. It's heartbreaking." Craig, who faces charges including making a threat of terrorism, is being held on $25,000 bail. (Read more Utah stories.)

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