10-year-old's time bomb forces school evacuation

December 08, 1990|By Los Angeles Daily News

LANCASTER, CALIFORNIA — LANCASTER, CALIFORNIA--A 10-year-old boy wearing a Bart Simpson T-shirt has been arrested on suspicion of planting a homemade time bomb -- which he said he learned to make while watching television -- in a restroom at his school.

The time bomb -- constructed from two model rocket engines, two batteries and a digital timer -- was safely detonated six minutes before it was set to go off Friday, said sheriff's Sgt. Bobby Denham. The 800 students and teachers at Del Sur School near Lancaster, a high desert city north of Los Angeles, were evacuated for 75 minutes while a bomb squad exploded the device.

"The bomb had enough power to kill somebody," Sergeant Denham said. "The boy was able to draw a complete diagram of an explosive device for deputies."

The boy told deputies that he received all of his explosive training by watching the ABC television show "MacGyver," but series' officials said that was impossible.

"We get stories like this about once a year, but 'MacGyver' is never instructional," said Stephen Downing, the show's executive producer. "For some reason, kids have this compulsion to blame 'MacGyver' when they do something stupid."

The bomb was reported by a student who saw it in a trash can in a boys' restroom, officials said.

No one was hurt, and there was no damage, Sergeant Denham said.

The boy was arrested on suspicion of manufacturing an explosive device after turning himself in to Principal Carol Collins, who took him to sheriff's deputies.

Allan Sacks, assistant superintendent of the Westside Union School District, said the district would seek to expel the boy.

The boy was released to his parents yesterday afternoon, officials said. The Los Angeles County district attorney's office will decide whether to prosecute the boy.

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