RAW VIDEO: Police release footage of St. James High arson - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

RAW VIDEO: Police release footage of St. James High arson

Nick Newell (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center) Nick Newell (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)

MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) - Horry County Police released over 20 minutes of raw surveillance footage of a suspect preparing and burning several American flags at St. James High School.

Bond was set at a total of $20,500 for 17-year-old Nick Newell, the suspect in the arson at St James High School on Monday, Sept. 9.

Newell was taken into custody by Horry County Police officers from a house on Indigo Creek Boulevard at about 1 p.m. Monday, Lieutenant Kegler stated.

At the bond hearing, a judge granted bond at $15,000 for third degree arson, $2,500 for bringing a weapon to school, $1,000 for disturbing the school, $1,000 for petit larceny, and $1,000 for malicious damage. In total, his bond was set at $20,500.

Newell was also ordered to have no contact with the high school. During the bond hearing, he barely spoke.

"He's a child, and he spent the night in jail. Anyone's going to be disturbed by that," said Regina Ward, Newell's attorney.

"I just want to say - part of the reason we're upset about these things is our patriotic spirit and so forth, but what we also need to remember - America is all about is one of the finest justice systems in the world. We believe the justice system will do the right thing here," Ward said.

Though booking records for J. Reuben Long Detention Center show Newell as "incarcerated," jail officials confirm Newell has been released from the facility and is out on home detention.

St. James arson investigation

Arson investigators and HCPD Detectives were called to St. James High to investigate the arson after a security officer noticed the damage to the school's front doors around 6:20 a.m.

While checking the videos from the school, Lt. Kegler said the suspect was seen doing things that caused concern to law enforcement officials. As a result, the Horry County Police Department's Bomb Squad was called to the scene and students were evacuated to the football field.

As temperatures rose, students were bused to St. James Middle, where parents were later allowed to pick them up. Students and teachers were not allowed back on school property to collect their cars and personal belongings until after 4 p.m.

"First we moved them from visitors' side to the home side," said St. James High Principal Vann Pennell. "Then as time went on we determined we needed to put them someplace cool, where we can provide lunch and restrooms."

Horry County Schools released this statement Monday:

"Parents can check their student out from St. James Middle School at this time. Persons picking up students are asked to be patient and be prepared to show ID at the time of pick-up. Bus riders who do not get picked up will ride the bus home from St. James Middle School. Per Horry County Police, car riders who drove to school today will not be allowed to come back on the St. James High property to retrieve their vehicles. No student will be allowed back on property to retrieve any personal belongings."

Police released an image of the arson suspect believed to be Newell, taken by a security camera at about 2 a.m., apparently wearing head-to-toe black clothing, black goggles, and carrying a bag.

Warrants obtained by WMBF News state that Newell had a machete and an air soft pistol on him. He then cut the flag pole rope and used it to tie the cafeteria door closed. He burned several American flags in front of the school's entrance, and then ignited a Molotov cocktail and threw it at the building, the warrants state.

Two students told police that they received text messages from Newell stating he was going to do these things, according to the arrest warrants. He also incriminated himself in an interview with police, stating he stole the flags he burned from several neighbors in Indigo Creek about two weeks before school started.

Horry County Schools' spokeswoman Teal Harding says Newell is a student enrolled at St. James High, but he attends the Academy of the Arts, Science and Technology as a Theater major.

St. James High School Principal Vann Pennell said Tuesday morning would be as expected after a day that was anything but that.

"We're not going to let a senseless act like that ruin our day," added Pennell. "We're going to have a normal day tomorrow because the person responsible for this has been caught, and Horry County Police have been fantastic with that so there's no need to have fear or reservations about coming here tomorrow."

Copyright 2013 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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