Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

15-year-old student arrested after acid bomb found at Wesley Chapel High

WESLEY CHAPEL — Debra Ramos got a text message from a friend Tuesday morning saying some type of bomb detonated in front of Wesley Chapel High School. Ramos' two sons go to school there. She raced over to the campus and saw it was locked down and wrapped with crime scene tape. She demanded to be let inside to see her sons.

"The deputy was a saint. She was so sweet and reassuring," Ramos said. "She said everything was okay and they were safe."

The panic-inducing reports of a bomb at the school was the work of a 15-year-old student who made a "Works Bomb" and put it in a trash can in the school courtyard, near the gym, authorities said. The device is created by mixing The Works toilet bowl cleaner with other household items inside a plastic container. The chemical reaction causes the sealed container to explode.

The sophomore, whom the Times is not naming due to his age, was arrested and charged with making and discharging a destructive device, a felony, and disrupting the school campus, a misdemeanor.

No one was injured in the incident, although a school administrator felt sick from the bomb's fumes. The employee was treated by medical staff at the scene.

The Pasco County Sheriff's Office said the school was on a modified lockdown from 7:30 a.m. until about 10 a.m. An assistant principal noticed something smoking in a garbage can just after classes started, school district spokeswoman Summer Romagnoli said.

The school called 911. Students were required to remain in their classrooms until the lockdown was lifted.

Pasco County Fire Rescue responded to the scene to clean up the mess. Sheriff's Office spokesman Kevin Doll said such devices are commonly called acid bombs.

"It's along the lines of baking soda and vinegar," Doll said.

Doll said it was not considered a serious threat. "Kids make these all the time," he said.

Ramos said her sons called about 9:30 a.m. to say they were okay. Ramos still felt rattled Tuesday afternoon.

"You never think it would happen at your kids' school," she said. "It was a scary, scary feeling."

Staff writers Erin Sullivan and Danny Valentine and photographer Stephen J. Coddington contributed to this report.

15-year-old student arrested after acid bomb found at Wesley Chapel High 02/21/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 10:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review: Mumford and Sons shower Amalie Arena with love in euphoric Tampa debut


    There are releases, and then there are releases. And minutes into their concert Wednesday at Amalie Arena, Mumford and Sons gave Tampa the latter.

    Mumford and Sons performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on Sept. 20, 2017.
  2. FEMA to open disaster recovery center in Riverview


    The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it will open a disaster recovery center Thursday in Riverview for Hillsborough County residents impacted by Hurricane Irma.

  3. Life sentence for man convicted in killing of brother of Bucs' Kwon Alexander


    An Alabama man who shot and killed the 17-year-old brother of Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, the Anniston (Ala.) Star reported.

  4. Remember him? Numbers prove Ben Zobrist is one of greatest Rays of all time

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first foray back to the Trop by the best manager the Rays have had obscured the second return visit by arguably the second-best player in franchise history.


    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) takes the field to start the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.
  5. GOP's new repeal bill would likely leave millions more uninsured, analyses suggest


    WASHINGTON — The latest Republican bid to roll back the Affordable Care Act would likely leave millions of currently insured Americans without health coverage in the coming decades, and strip benefits and protections from millions more, a growing number of independent studies suggest.

    Vice President Mike Pence listens as President Donald Trump talks to reporters about the Graham-Cassidy health care bill during a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in New York. [Evan Vucci | Associated Press]