Student Charged With Arson After Burning Flags At School

Nick Newell

Nick Newell

MURRELLS INLET, S.C. – A student at St. James High School in Horry County, SC, was charged with arson for burning American Flags at his school.

Nick Newell, 17, had his bond hearing on Tuesday morning, and bond was set at $15,000 for the third degree arson charge, $2,500 for bringing weapon to school, $1,000 for disturbing the school and $1,000 for petit larceny, $1,000 for malicious damage. In total, his bond was set at $20,500.

Lt. Kegler said school officials found numerous American flags burned at the doors of the entrance to St. James High School. The flags were discovered Monday morning around 6:20 a.m. by security staff.

Arson investigators and HCPD Detectives were at the school investigating the arson Monday, which has caused damage to the front doors of the school.

Newell was taken into custody by Horry County Police officers from a house on Indigo Creek at about 1 p.m. Monday, Lt. Kegler stated. Newell is charged with third degree arson. At the bond hearing, Newell was ordered to have no contact with the high school.

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.

flag burnerPolice 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.

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. The Bomb Squad cleared the school at about 11:15 a.m., but arson investigators and other law enforcement remained on scene.

“The school was swept with negative results,” Kegler said. “The active incident is over.”


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