Former Miner may be arrested after bomb threat

UPDATE

The suspect, believed to be former Miner Chris Craig, has been taken into custody, the Utah County Sheriff's Office said through their spokesman's Twitter account.

The sheriff's office did not confirm that Craig is the suspect. However, Craig emailed the El Paso Times shortly before the incident began. In the email, he threatened Eagle Valley Elementary School.

“We do have the individual in custody,” said Sgt. Spencer Cannon, a spokesman for the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators were working to confirm the man’s identity and a bomb squad was checking his vehicle to see if he actually had explosives., Cannon said. Cannon said that there had been no injuries reported in the incident that caused a school to be evacuated.

In a 2014 article, Sports Illustrated reported that Craig has a history of hospitalization for mental illness. His family told the magazine that he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

ORIGINAL: A Utah elementary school was evacuated this afternoon shortly after former UTEP basketball player Chris Craig sent a note to the media threatening the school.

The Provo Daily Herald reports that Eagle Valley Elementary School in Eagle Mountain, Utah, was evacuated after a masked man entered the campus and said "evacuate the kids and no one will get hurt," according to a text message sent out to parents.

Shortly before the incident began, the El Paso Times 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."

A nearby neighbor used Facebook Live to share the stand-off.

In the email to the Times, Craig said 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."

"My reason for writing Today is because of my pending arrest and hunger strike which begins when I press send on this Discourse of Truth.  In 2 hours, call Eagle Mountain PD in Eagle Mountain, UT if you think I am bluffing.  Ask them," he added.

The email goes on to make a number of rambling statements that include racist comments.

At one point he wrote, "Racism is the reason for my hunger strike, to take this conversation deeper, to The Truth, Core, and roots."

Craig was a guard on the UTEP basketball team from 2002 to 2004 and played in the NCAA tournament during one of UTEP's runs under Billy Gillispie.

According to a 2014 Sports Illustrated article, Craig struggled with mental illness throughout his basketball career. In the article it stated he has been treated at state mental health hospitals in Colorado and Utah, and his brother said he has been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

After he left UTEP, Craig went into coaching and was the head coach at Midland College in 2011. Then in 2013, Craig resigned and began making end-of-the-world comments on his blog and Twitter.

According to El Paso Times archives, Craig had several run-ins with law enforcement.

On July 10, 2013, Craig allegedly entered a classroom at Eastern Arizona College and began yelling obscenities after asking an instructor if he was Mormon. On July 23, 2013, police in Steamboat Springs, Colo., encountered Craig while he was driving around filming himself with a white shirt around his head and a bandanna covering his face. The Fort Collins Coloradoan reported police said Craig claimed to be an "Islamic jihadist" and that everyone would know who he was in a couple of weeks. He was not arrested,

On July 26, 2013, Fort Collins police sent a memo to local churches to keep an eye out for a man who had threatened that Mormons and Catholics "would be destroyed." The man was later identified as Craig, the Coloradoan reported.

Later that year, he was arrested in Price, Utah, on marijuana charges after raising law enforcement concerns because of bizarre behavior, threats and a self-description as an "Islamist jihadist."

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.


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