OCALA, FL – On Thursday, August 20, 2020, Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Deputy Murphy arrested juveniles Clayton and Zachary, both 14 years of age, for Possession of a homemade explosive device, which is a felony. According to the report, at approximately 1:00 am, Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) Trooper C. Ball was traveling past 6422 NE Jacksonville Road, Ocala, Florida (Oak Griner Baptist Church) and observed the teens in the parking lot. Trooper Ball stopped to make contact with the two boys due to the time of night and observed one concealing a black, plastic bottle under his sweatshirt. Trooper Ball inspected the bottle, in which he located firecrackers, gunpowder and a small piece of rope inserted into the cap to act as a fuse. Trooper Ball then contacted MCSO and Deputy Murphy responded to continue the investigation.
Deputy Murphy questioned the boys, who both initially stated they had found the bottle on the side of NE Jacksonville Road while walking. One ultimately advised he and his friend constructed the device at home by placing firecrackers and a fuse into the bottle, which already had gun powder inside. They also stated they did not intend to detonate the explosive at the church, but did intend to detonate it in the nearby area. Sergeant Larson with the MCSO Bomb Squad responded to the scene, confirmed that the device was an explosive and took possession of it per MCSO policy.
The boys, who were named in the report but are being redacted by The Published Reporter editors due to their age, were placed under arrest for possession of a homemade explosive device and were later released to their parents.