A Chandler teenager could face felony charges after he brought home-made explosives to a crowded church Sunday and set one off in the parking lot.
Police are also investigating the boy’s father, because they say he knew that his son was making explosive devices.
Sgt. Andrew Duncan, Gilbert police spokesman, said the Mesa bomb squad searched the 16-year-old boy’s house and found materials commonly used for home-made bombs in the garage. The search came after he detonated one of the explosives at the East Valley Bible Church parking lot.
“He had in his possession what he referred to as M-80s,” Duncan said.
According to the web site of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, M-80 is the street name for an explosive that resembles a large firecracker, but is actually an unstable “small bomb.”
Duncan said the boy — who the Tribune is not naming because he hasn’t been charged with a crime — brought eight to 15 of the home-made explosives to a gathering of 700 people at the East Valley Bible Church, 1820 W. Elliot Road in Gilbert.
The boy admitted to trying to ignite three or four of them before the service and three more afterwards, actually detonating at least one.
Duncan said the devices were cylindrical and about the size of a roll of quarters.
A group of church ushers confronted the boy after he detonated one in the parking lot. He turned over to them what he had left.
Mesa’s bomb squad came and removed all of the devices.
The boy’s father knew he was tinkering around with explosives and was making bigger and bigger ones, Duncan said.
The boy was not arrested, but Gilbert police are recommending charges of endangerment and misconduct involving weapons.