VANCLEAVE, MS (WLOX) - Residents on a Vancleave road breathed a little easier Monday night after authorities from multiple agencies worked together to diffuse an explosive device. But questions still remain about who left a homemade bomb at a house in this rural area.
As of Monday night, no one had been arrested for the package that authorities are calling an improvised explosive device left at the home of a family of three. Monday afternoon, Jackson County authorities, the Biloxi Bomb Squad, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and even the FBI converged on the home just off of Poticaw Bayou Road.
Richard Sowards's wife found the package first.
"I was sitting in my chair in my house when she handed it to me and I said I better get this thing out of the house," said Sowards.
He immediately recognized the package as a possible homemade IED, and called the sheriff's office.
"I'm still shaken from it because it could have blew up in my lap, or my wife could have blew up, or my kid could have got it this morning," said Sowards.
Once Jackson County sheriff's deputies made it to the scene, they called Biloxi Police to bring in their bomb squad. Poticaw Bayou Road was closed to traffic and Sowards's wife was sent to a secure location while the bomb squad made its way to the scene.
After analyzing the situation, Squad Commander John Campbell geared up in his 85 pounds of protective armor and made his way to what he described as a duct tape package with a fuse. He said cases involving explosives can get complicated.
"But in this instance it was a homemade fuse, so I was able to remove the fuse, therefore removing most of the threat," said Campbell.
He slowly disassembled the device, and separated the parts into metal containers. From there, he and his team handed it over to the crime lab for a forensic analysis.
"You don't know who the maker is. You don't know if he put any trips in there," said Campbell.
Sowards told WLOX News that when the device was discovered, it looked as though the fuse had been lit at one point. He has no idea who could have targeted him and his family.
The components of the device have since been handed over to ATF agents. Authorities will use forensic evidence from the IED to try to find its maker. Creating an IED could carry federal charges.