Phoenix police: Teen threatened to 'blow up Muslim church,' found with potassium nitrate

PHOENIX (FOX 10/AP) -- Phoenix police officials say a teenager is in custody after he was found with potassium nitrate on the campus of Pinnacle High School.

According to a statement released by Sgt. Tommy Thompson late Tuesday afternoon, an investigation began on Monday, after a juvenile witness told his parents that a classmate of his said he wanted to "blow up a Muslim Church". Police officers responded to the scene and talked with the witness. At the time, the witness said he did not see any weapons or devices that would allow the suspect to act upon the statement.

On Tuesday, Phoenix Police said the two young men were at Pinnacle High School when the witness saw the suspect in possession of a plastic bag containing several pounds of a white powdery substance. The witness immediately went to the school office to report what he had seen. The suspect, identified as a 15-year-old, was brought by a school staff member to the school administration building, along with the powder, and police officers were called to the scene to investigate.

Police officials said EOD officers tested the powdery substance and determined it was potassium nitrate. The salt-like substance is not dangerous by itself but can be mixed with other chemicals to create a flash powder. The substance can be ordered through the mail.

The suspect, according to police, was taken to Phoenix Police headquarters. The suspect made no threats against the school, and there is no indication that the school, or anyone connected with the school, was in danger. The school was not placed on lockdown, as circumstances did not necessitate a lockdown.

Sgt. Tommy Thompson said Wednesday the 15-year-old was in custody and that "charges are still being considered."

Police did not release his name.

Meanwhile, officials with the Paradise Valley Unified School School District have released a statement on the incident.