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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco student arrested over small explosion in cafeteria



NEW PORT RICHEY - A 17-year-old boy was arrested early Friday, charged with leaving a pressure bomb inside a garbage can at the Schwettman Education Center during breakfast.

The boy, whose name is not being released by New Port Richey police, mixed some window cleaning chemicals with pieces of metal in a small plastic bottle, creating a compression bomb that exploded when the pressure inside the bottle grew too great, police Lt. Jeffrey Harrington said.

"There was a bit of an explosion and the escape of all the gas," Harrington said.

The boy faces  felony charges of planting and discharging a destructive device.

One employee suffered possible damage to her ear, Harrington said,. but no other injuries were reported.

After the explosion, the school resource officer - who was in the cafeteria at the time - instructed the approximately 120 students and staff members inside to head to their classrooms, where they remained while another six officers arrived to search the school and conduct an investigation. The modified lockdown continued for two class periods, ending after police determined no other explosive devices were hidden anywhere else, and the suspect was taken into custody.

"It became very clear this was isolated to a lone person," Harrington said, adding that he didn't have an explanation for the suspect's motivation. "He certainly didn't provide one."

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:39am]


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