Thursday, November 23, 2017
Public safety

Police: Tampa man who blew off fingers charged with building 6 bombs

RECOMMENDED READING


TAMPA — James Lee Minyard said he built pipe bombs because he never finished school.

Now, at age 41, he wanted to prove to himself that he could accomplish something challenging, Tampa police said.

Minyard followed instructions he found online and, since January, built at least six explosive devices, police said.

Investigators discovered Minyard's dangerous hobby Tuesday, after one of his bombs exploded for unknown reasons in his hand. It blew off the top part of two of his fingers.

There was a lot of blood. Someone at the nearby BP gas station at Sligh and Nebraska avenues called 911.

During the call, Minyard can be heard yelling in the background. He blamed an M-80 firecracker, though police soon discovered that was not true.

After paramedics took Minyard to Tampa General Hospital, investigators found one detonated — and one partially detonated — pipe bomb nearby, where a witness saw the explosion.

Police got a search warrant and found four more bombs, as well as bombmaking materials in Minyard's home at 1212 E Crawford St.

On Wednesday, authorities charged Minyard with six counts of making an explosive device. He was released from the hospital and booked into jail. His bail was set at $12,000.

Police, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are still investigating Minyard and his intentions but said Wednesday that it does not appear he had malicious plans for the bombs.

Though his Facebook page contains a series of angry rants and photos of a rifle and a knife, police say they do not have evidence Minyard planned to hurt anybody.

Detectives found journals in his home, where Minyard lived with his parents.

The journals detailed only the mechanics of bomb-building, police say. None explained plans for the products.

When investigators interviewed Minyard on Wednesday, he was very animated and talkative, police said.

"He wanted to build these devices to show he had the capacity to do that," said Assistant Chief John Newman.

Police believe he planned to detonate them in his yard.

"This was simply for recreation," said police Sgt. Bill Todd.

Nonetheless, the explosives are dangerous devices and could have hurt people, as they did Minyard on Tuesday, said Newman. Authorities say they are going to continue to investigate Minyard, his past and his associates.

According to a search warrant filed in court, Minyard's parents, Lynda and James D. Minyard, 70 and 71, knew their son had been making explosives. Minyard's father told police that his son had been making explosives from peroxide.

Police say they are currently analyzing the chemicals in the bombs and declined to name any at this point. A woman who answered the phone at the Minyards' home declined to comment.

The younger Minyard has been arrested previously in Hillsborough County on charges of petty theft, contempt of court, driving without a license and violation of probation.

Police do not plan to charge Minyard's parents. Though they knew of the explosives, it does not appear they understood the danger, police said.

"At this point, they've been very cooperative," said police spokeswoman Laura McElroy, adding that the parents were not supportive of their son's activities and have been wanting him to move out of their house.

Times news researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3433.

     
Comments

Hernando deputies make arrest after finding body of dead woman Wednesday

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County sheriff’s deputies arrested a 32-year-old man Wednesday who they say killed a woman.Joshua Carroll, 32, faces a charge of second-degree murder.Deputies found the body of the woman, who was not identified, at 15013 Old St...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Tampa husband gets life, wife 40 years for sexual assault on 7-year-old

Tampa husband gets life, wife 40 years for sexual assault on 7-year-old

TAMPA — The mother of a 7-year-old girl stood weeping in a federal courtroom, demanding lifelong prison sentences for the Tampa couple who sexually assaulted her daughter while the girl’s own father took videos and pictures. "I don’t want my child to...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Details emerge in suicide of Hernando school volunteer accused of sexual abuse

Details emerge in suicide of Hernando school volunteer accused of sexual abuse

A former Brooksville school volunteer accused of sexually assaulting teenage foreign exchange students who were under his care was found dead last week, a day before he was due in court on the charges.The body of Bruce McAllister was found at the bas...
Published: 11/22/17
Fire sends smoke through roof of Brass Flamingo adult club in Port Richey

Fire sends smoke through roof of Brass Flamingo adult club in Port Richey

PORT RICHEY — Crews from Pasco County fire rescue were battling a fire Wednesday morning that sent smoke pouring through the roof at the Brass Flamingo adult club, 9034 U.S. 19.The fire forced the closing of U.S. 19 but traffic was flowing again by 6...
Published: 11/22/17
Mountains beckon, but family sticks with beleaguered Seminole Heights for Thanksgiving this year

Mountains beckon, but family sticks with beleaguered Seminole Heights for Thanksgiving this year

TAMPA — Before the killings began, Bob and Vivian Fiallo envisioned having Thanksgiving at their North Carolina mountain getaway.Most years, the couple spends the holiday at their tidy, brick-faced home on North Olney Avenue, in the heart of Southeas...
Published: 11/22/17
Report: Pepin Academies director had alcohol in his system at time of fatal boating accident

Report: Pepin Academies director had alcohol in his system at time of fatal boating accident

CLEARWATER — The former Pepin Academies executive director who died in a watercraft and boat collision on Sept. 23 had a blood-alcohol level nearly twice the level at which the state presumes someone is impaired, a toxicology report showed. Just befo...
Published: 11/21/17
Pasco Deputies: Man climbs into bed with sleeping woman after multiple burglaries

Pasco Deputies: Man climbs into bed with sleeping woman after multiple burglaries

NEW PORT RICHEY — A man who ended a series of burglaries by breaking into the home of a sleeping woman, where he climbed into her bed, was arrested Monday afternoon, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said.Russel Smith, 42, now faces three felony char...
Published: 11/21/17

28-year-old man shot dead in Spring Hill home, deputies say

SPRING HILL — A 28-year-old man was shot and killed inside a Spring Hill home Monday night, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies responded to at least two separate 911 calls about 8:15 p.m., in which callers reported shots being...
Published: 11/21/17
Crime Stoppers, Straz Foundation still working out Seminole Heights reward money

Crime Stoppers, Straz Foundation still working out Seminole Heights reward money

TAMPA — You can collect $110,000 in reward money for information leading to an arrest in the Seminole Heights killings, but for now you’ll have to make two stops.The David A. Straz Foundation announced Monday it would contribute $10,000 to a reward f...
Published: 11/21/17

Crash involving bicyclist closes EB lanes on W Kennedy Boulevard in downtown Tampa

TAMPA — Eastbound lanes on W Kennedy Boulevard were reopened by 6:30 a.m. at S Parker Street in downtown Tampa after a bicyclist was struck early Tuesday morning.The crash occurred in front of the University of Tampa, according to broadcast reports.W...
Published: 11/21/17