St. James HS arson suspect brought machete, Molotov cocktail and - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

St. James HS arson suspect brought machete, Molotov cocktail and rope to tie doors shut, police say

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An image from police of the suspect (left) and a photo of Newell. An image from police of the suspect (left) and a photo of Newell.
MURRELLS INLET, SC -

Additional Charges have been filed against a 17 year old suspect in connection with the incident that occurred at St. James High School Monday morning.

Police also revealed that the suspect was seen on video trying to use rope to tie the school doors shut from the outside. 

 Related: Video released of St. James High arson attack by teen, police say

 On September 9, at approximately 6:20 am, Officers with the Horry County Police Department's South Precinct responded to St. James High School in reference to a fire that occurred at the front entrance of the school. 

Nicholas Ryan Newell, age 17, is charged with Arson 3rd Degree, Disturbing Schools, Carrying a weapon on School Property, Malicious Damage to Real Property, Petty Larceny.

Arrest warrants also said Newell lit a "Molotov Cocktail" on fire and threw it against the building during the incident.

"Upon their arrival, they observed fire damage on the brick and frame of the school.  They also observed burned remnants of American flags on the ground," police said.

Entry was not made into the school by the suspect and the damage was isolated to the front of the school, police said.

The School Resource Officer of St. James High School arrived at the school and began to review the videos of the school.

"Officers observed on the video that approximately 10 minutes prior to the fire being started, the suspect is tying the outside cafeteria door handles on the opposite side of the building together with a rope, as if trying to prevent people from leaving through those doors," police said in a news release.

This caused concern for law enforcement and the Horry County Bomb Squad was called to the scene as a precaution. 

The Horry County Bomb Squad did respond to the scene and conducted a sweep of the school.  Nothing suspicious was found as a result of the search.  Detectives with the Horry County police Department's Bomb/Arson and Major Crimes Units responded to the scene and took over the investigation.  Detectives began receiving information that ultimately resulted in the identity of a suspect.

At approximately 1 pm, members of the Horry County SWAT Team responded to a home on Indigo Creek Blvd. to apprehend the suspect.  He was taken into custody without incident.

During the fire incident, the suspect was seen on video carrying a pistol and had what appeared to be a machete on his hip.  The pistol was later determined to be an air pistol.

In addition to Monday's incident, the suspect has also been linked to a series of American Flag thefts that occurred in Indigo Creek Subdivision last month.

Arrest warrants also said Newell text messaged two students that he was planning the incident.  Those students shared this information afterwards, the warrant stated.

 

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