The 16-year-old boy who is accused of wounding five classmates during a recent stabbing rampage in a Utah high school allegedly told investigators “he wanted to feel what [it] was like” to kill someone “prior to dying himself,” according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE.
The newly released documents reveal the clearest picture yet of the short, sudden and brutal stabbing attack on Nov. 15 — as well as several allegations about the teenage suspect’s motives and level of preparation.
Police believe the attacker’s goal was simple and indiscriminate: Inflict pain on as many people as possible.
The teen, a sophomore who has not been identified, allegedly prepared for the stabbings the previous day — coming to school with a bo staff, steak knives and “other tools to inflict physical violence against others” — and he allegedly told police he planned to end his own life before being captured by authorities, according to the court documents.
He said he wore red clothing to school the morning of the attack as “he expected there would be a lot of blood,” the documents allege.
After allegedly stabbing five others, the teen — who’d been cornered by a school resource officer — then allegedly turned the knife on himself in an unsuccessful suicide attempt, plunging it into his own neck before being detained.
The attack unfolded inside the boy’s locker room at Mountain View High School in Orem, Utah, just before the start of the school day. All of the victims were male students who’d been stabbed in the neck and torso.
The teen has been charged with five counts of attempted criminal homicide, and he remains in custody. He also faces one count of failure to stop at the command of a law enforcement officer as well as a single count for possession of a dangerous weapon.
The teen’s attorney, Michael Esplin, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. It is unclear if he has appeared before a judge to enter pleas to the charges against him.
School officials previously said the teen had no known disciplinary issues before the attack.
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‘Creating as Many Victims as Possible’
According to the charging documents, the teen allegedly attacked students at random that Tuesday morning and later told detectives he brought “sturdy steak-style knives” to his school as “they were less likely to break.”
Police allege “he clarified that it was his intent to kill people (describing going for the neck/jugular area when attacking) and that he wanted to feel what that was like prior to dying himself, and remarked that he was surprised he was able to try and kill more people than he expected to be able to.”
According to court records, the teen allegedly approached his first victim in the locker room and struck him over the head with the bo staff, which split in half. The strike was enough to knock the victim unconscious, police said.
The teen then allegedly approached a second classmate, stabbing him in the neck and leaving a “knuckle-deep” laceration that required surgery to close. The second victim also sustained injuries to his hands, as he tried grabbing the blade during the onslaught.
The third student who was stabbed played dead following the attack, which severed one of his nerves, resulting “in disabled elbow and shoulder movement.”
The fourth and fifth victims were also stabbed in the neck; the fifth student was attacked as he tried to assist one of his injured classmates, according to court records.
“The Defendant attempted to go after another person who slammed a door to keep him out of there,” the documents allege. “The Defendant then approached another person in a threatening manner, but then went into a bathroom area.
“Eventually, a school resource officer cornered him in the bathroom area and deployed a taser to inhibit any further violence and stop the Defendant. After being hit by the taser, the Defendant stabbed himself in his own neck with a knife and was subsequently detained.”
After he was taken into custody, the teen allegedly told investigators “he had left behind a suicide note at his house.” He also detailed — “freely” — his perspective on the attack as it felt in the moment, police allege.
The teen “spoke freely about what he felt, thought, and observed when he hit and stabbed others intending to kill them and how that compared to what he thought it would be like, including describing the ease of forcing the knife in, some small areas of blood and some large areas of spurting blood, and how it looked to see someone go down dying or going unconscious,” the documents allege.
The teen allegedly attacked at random and “merely went after who was available with the goal of creating as many victims as possible,” according to the documents.
None of the students’ injuries were “life-threatening,” and most of the five victims are expected to fully recover from the violence, which triggered a brief lockdown of the school.
In a letter released via the Orem police soon after the stabbings, the suspect’s parents shared their sorrow with the victims.
“We express our deepest condolences to the five boys who were harmed at Mountain View High School this morning and to their families,” the parents said. “None of the victims had done anything to hurt him. This was in no way racially or ethnically motivated.
“We are at a loss to express how deeply sorry we are for the pain and injury caused. Our thoughts and prayers will be with the boys and their families.”