Friday, December 15, 2017
Public safety

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.

Comments
Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, later found in swamp

Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, later found in swamp

DOVER — Two Plant City men, with several outstanding warrants, face additional charges after Hillsborough County deputies said they were driving a stolen car when they fled an attempted traffic stop on Thursday afternoon.The men ran away from deputie...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Arrest made as former gay bathhouse in Ybor City is hit by arson a third time

Arrest made as former gay bathhouse in Ybor City is hit by arson a third time

TAMPA — Tampa police arrested a man Friday on charges he set fire to a vacant Ybor City bathhouse hit by at least two earlier arsons this year.Police said Carroll DeMoss, 46, was found early Friday inside the building at 1512 E 8th Ave. after patrols...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Missing Child Alert canceled for Port St. Lucie girl, 17

A Florida Missing Child Alert has been canceled for a 17-year-old Port St. Lucie girl who was last seen on Thursday.The case involving Heaven Flores has been resolved, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Updated: 6 hours ago

Hudson pedestrian killed while crossing U.S. 19

HUDSON — A Hudson man was killed Thursday night while crossing U.S. 19.According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 59-year-old Gerald Berube was crossing the northbound lanes of U.S. 19 north of Stahl Drive around 6:40 p.m. when he walked into the path ...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Bicyclist killed in Seminole Heights crash; portion of E Hillsborough Avenue closed

TAMPA — A bicyclist was killed early Friday morning in a crash in Seminole Heights.Tampa Police say the bicyclist was struck by a car just after 12:15 a.m.Eastbound E Hillsborough Avenue is closed from N Florida Avenue to N Central Avenue while polic...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Tampa police seek ‘person of interest’ in Dec. 3 homicide

Tampa police seek ‘person of interest’ in Dec. 3 homicide

TAMPA — Police are seeking a "person of interest" who they believe has information about a Dec. 3 drive-by shooting that killed a 22-year-old man.Police are searching for Anan Motilal, 25. He stands about 5-foot-10 and weighs 180 pounds. He may have ...
Published: 12/14/17

Pinellas Park officer stuns middle school student with Taser

PINELLAS PARK — A school resource officer stunned a middle school student with a Taser while trying to break up a fight between her and another female student on Thursday, police said.Neither the Pinellas Park officer nor the students involved in the...
Published: 12/14/17
Bob’s Carpet and Flooring heir was source of family strife before arrest

Bob’s Carpet and Flooring heir was source of family strife before arrest

An heir to a local flooring company charged with failing to report the death of a young woman last year has a troubled criminal history and was a source of strife in his family business, according to court records.Robert Butler III, 52, was arrested ...
Published: 12/14/17
Horrified friends watch screaming woman driven to her death in Plant City

Horrified friends watch screaming woman driven to her death in Plant City

PLANT CITY — Jonathon Adams heard a scream, "like a dog getting run over by a car," then saw a minivan come tearing around the corner with a woman he knew dangling out of the passenger side.It was the start of a deadly sequence of events Dec. 8 that ...
Published: 12/14/17
Dade City man turns himself in on warrants for Polk armed robbery

Dade City man turns himself in on warrants for Polk armed robbery

DADE CITY — A 25-year-old man wanted in connection with the attempted robbery of a taxi driver in Lakeland turned himself in late Wednesday night after being prompted by his mother, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.Edner Dely of Dade Ci...
Published: 12/14/17