LONG BEACH, Wash. — Police are warning people to watch out for explosives and strange packages after two bombs were found in downtown Long Beach Monday afternoon.
“Somebody went to a lot of trouble to build these,” Long Beach Police Officer Jeff Cutting said. “They were meant to kill somebody.”
A caller reported a suspicious bag near the public restrooms on Third Street SW at around 4:45 p.m. Cutting found two bombs that were left in white, plastic garbage sacks and removed them from the area.
At first, he said, he suspected the bags were full of stolen property because he found a nail gun in one of them. He then noticed canning jars full of a maroon gelatin material and wires under it, so he asked dispatch to call the Washington State Patrol bomb squad.
Cutting moved the explosives, first to the police station and then to the city shop on Sixth Street NE. The bomb squad showed up about four hours later, he said.
Technicians took X-rays of the bombs. They then shot the jars with a BB gun to get the gelatin out so they could test it, Cutting said. They found shrapnel, shotgun shells and rat poison in the jars.
“The rat poison goes into your body with the shrapnel and kills you,” Police Chief Flint Wright said. “It’s absolutely terrifying to me. You bleed out from the inside.”
The bomb squad consulted with the FBI and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Cutting said. They then dug a 4-foot-deep hole in a swampy area behind the city shop and buried the bombs. They blew them up around 12:30 a.m.
“It woke a lot of people up,” Long Beach Administrator David Glasson said after the early-morning blast.
Wright is hoping FBI or ATF will assist with the investigation. He said the bomb squad will also provide the city with a more detailed report once samples that were sent to the state crime lab for analysis come back.
The Pacific County Sheriff’s Office, meanwhile, is investigating after a man in Seaview called 911 several times on Saturday, threatening to “shoot the place up and bomb everybody.” He would not give specifics on who he wanted to hurt or exactly where he was, according to the dispatch report.
Chief Criminal Deputy Pat Matlock said the man has made a number of threats in the past. More information was not immediately available. “We’ve just had an extensive history with him,” 911 director Tim Martindale Jr. said.