By Dylan Goforth
Phoenix Staff Writer
An explosive device found at a Tahlequah business Thursday was disassembled, and a suspect has been “detained,” but not arrested.
Tahlequah Police Chief Nate King said authorities were notified of a backpack with some kind of explosive device in it outside AmeriGas at 5050 S. Muskogee Ave.
As a result, U.S. 62 was blocked off from Willis Road to the Oklahoma 82/U.S. 62 junction for several hours while the Oklahoma Highway Patrol’s bomb squad investigated, King said.
“The OHP identified a suspected explosive device in a backpack, and there were also handguns and several rounds of ammo in the backpack,” King said.
The device was sent for further analysis, which will determine what charges are possible, King said.
The suspect was quickly identified, but not named by authorities. King said the suspect had not been arrested.
“He’s detained, just not by law enforcement,” King said. “He’s not at-large. He’s not a danger to the public.”
An arrest could come shortly, King said.
King said the backpack was within 10 feet of a propane tank, which compounded the danger. He said it didn’t appear that the suspect had any intent to use the explosives or firearms.
“It was a dangerous situation, but it doesn’t appear there was any malice or intent to do harm with those products,” King said. “After analysis and investigation, we’ll see if those substances were even legal to be possessed.”
Thursday’s scare was the fourth bomb-related incident in Cherokee County this year.
• The Cherokee County Courthouse was evacuated March 27 after a man called the County Clerk’s Office, said he was “tired of paying his (expletive) fines” and stated there was a bomb in the building. No bomb was found. No arrests have been made.
• Three Tahlequah students were arrested in connection to an April 8 bomb scare at Tahlequah High School. A note was left at the school that indicated a threat, school resource officer Bryan Swim said.
• Jeremy Ramirez, 27, was arrested April 19 after Tahlequah City Hospital staff notified police that Ramirez had shrapnel wounds all over his body. Authorities found explosive devices at Ramirez’ home as well as a residence in Stilwell.
Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or firstname.lastname@example.org.