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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Explosives found in teen’s home

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A northwest Charlotte neighborhood rattled and shook Tuesday as a bomb squad blew up explosives they found in the home of a teen arrested Monday, after police say he planted an exploding pen that injured a fellow student at his school.

    Authorities said Tuesday they found a “”significant quantity”” of powerful and unstable explosives in the house, as well as materials that could be used to make more explosives.

    “”The quantity located was capable of extreme damage and loss of life within the community,”” said Charlotte-Mecklenburg police spokesman Officer Robert Fey in a statement.

    As the search of the home began Monday, three firefighters were hurt when a “”minute quantity”” of explosive they were testing blew up.

    Police have charged Jessie Bauguess, 16, and his younger brother in connection with the pen that exploded at Turning Point Academy — an alternative Charlotte-Mecklenburg School for students with disciplinary problems — and also with the explosion that injured the firefighters.

    On Tuesday, one explosion rattled neighbors’ windows, as a bomb squad in full protective gear and using robots spent the day searching the house and conducting controlled detonations.

    With federal agents, police blocked off about a mile around the house for most of Monday and Tuesday as they conducted “”render safe”” operations at the single-story house the Bauguess family rents.

    Nearby residents were evacuated from nearly 30 homes Monday, but all residents were back home by Tuesday afternoon.

    Police late Tuesday were searching for the teens’ mother, 37-year-old Tracy Bauguess. She was being sought on charges of possessing a weapon of mass destruction and malicious injury by an explosive device.

    Jessie Bauguess was arrested at the school after the pen blast, which left fragments lodged in the arm and chest of a 15-year-old boy, and also burned his hand. Police said they arrested Bauguess’ 15-year-old brother at the home Monday afternoon, but did not release his name because he’s a juvenile.

    Police wouldn’t say whether Monday’s pen explosion was a prank gone wrong — or whether they believe the teens may have been planning something more serious. Prank pen explosions are a popular video topic on YouTube, and some videos and websites offer instructions for how to make them.

    N.C. court records show Jessie Bauguess has no criminal history as an adult in North Carolina, and that his mother has a single charge of driving without insurance, which was dismissed in 2006.

    Jessie Bauguess now faces charges of with malicious use of explosives causing damage to property and causing injury, possession of a weapon on school grounds; and three counts of arson or unlawful burning causing injury to a firefighter. He was being held Tuesday in the Mecklenburg jail under $500,000 bond.

    The injured firefighters suffered bumps and bruises, fire officials said, and were treated and released from local hospitals. Police identified the explosive that injured them as triacetone triperoxide, known as TATP.

    Instructions to make TATP, which is powerful and often unstable, are easily found on the Internet. The explosive has been used in terrorist attacks, including the 2005 London subway bombings.

    The bomb squad caused “”significant structural damage”” to the Bauguess house, which was declared unsafe for occupancy Tuesday. A neighbor owns the home and had been renting it to the Bauguess family. A woman who answered the phone at the owner’s house declined comment.

    Jacqueline Carmack, another neighbor, said police left “”a big old hole”” in the back wall of the Bauguess’ house. She said she didn’t know the Bauguess brothers who live across the street, but she often saw them hanging out in front of the house and hadn’t heard they were troublemakers.

    The first explosion happened about 9 a.m. Monday in a classroom at Turning Point, when a student took the top off of an ink pen. Police said the pen contained the same TATP explosive found at the teens’ home.

    Bomb-sniffing dogs were sent through the school at least three times Monday, without finding other explosives.

    Classes resumed Tuesday morning at Turning Point, but school staff collected all writing utensils from students as they arrived. The students were given new pens and pencils instead.

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