Three pipe bombs were discovered in a downtown Eureka, California motel on Tuesday after an officer made contact with an individual who was on searchable juvenile probation.
Authorities are investigating possible gang-related involvement with the incident.
“The possibility that the suspects may be gang-involved is under investigation,” Captain Steve Watson of the Eureka Police Department told reporters on the scene during an exchange captured on video and posted to YouTube.
According to the town’s local Times-Standard news outlet, the search led to the officer detaining five people located inside the room the juvenile was allegedly staying in at the Econo Lodge motel on the 1600 block of Fourth Street. 22 of the 40 rooms at the motel were reportedly occupied by guests at the time of the evacuation.
The initial call for the incident reportedly came in around 11:35 a.m.
@Eureka_Police almost every EPD officer on duty right now. Thank you to the hardest working team in the North Coast
— Andrew Mills (@ChiefAndyMills) March 8, 2016
A friend of the men told the Times-Standard that he had been with the men the night before the incident and didn’t suspect any foul play. “I got there at 12:30/1 and took them to Jack in the Box and everything was fine. I didn’t see anything,”Jacob Yzaguirre said.
Of the five males who were originally detained, two of them were reportedly identified and ultimately released, Watson said. The others are still in custody.
At around 5:15 p.m. the Local Outpost reported on its live blog that “a second, much louder bang! was heard.” It was unclear whether the bangs were from the pipe bombs being detonated “or if they were the result of bomb bot’s mechanism for detonating devices.”
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