Police report finding bomb at home of Shore student, 19

he is arrested

Authorities were told device was to be placed in Somerset high school

April 24, 1999|By Chris Guy | Chris Guy,SUN STAFF

State police apparently thwarted a plan to bomb an Eastern Shore school yesterday when they arrested a 19-year-old Somerset County high school senior after reporting that they discovered a pipe bomb at his home.

Heron G. T. Boyce, a resident of Deal Island, was awaiting a bail review hearing late yesterday after being charged with threat to arson, which could carry a 10-year prison term, a $10,000 fine or both.

State police said they found explosives packed into a 6-inch piece of bamboo when they searched a bedroom in Boyce's home about 7 a.m. yesterday.

"We're talking about a copy-cat situation," said Michael Thomas, Somerset County's superintendent of schools.

"Obviously, everybody is paying immediate attention to any threat like this in light of what happened this week in Colorado," said Thomas, whose 16-year-old son is among the 540 students at Washington High School in Princess Anne. "We're all very sensitive to this, and I think we've been as proactive as we could have been."

State police were called to the school Thursday afternoon when several students and faculty members informed Principal Ron Harder that a student had talked about "blowing up" the building. Police were told that the student planned to place the bomb yesterday.

Threats taken seriously

"The point is that any threat like this is being taken very seriously by police and school administrators," said Capt. Greg Shipley, a Maryland State Police spokesman. "This was an operational pipe bomb."

State police have swept the school building twice since Thursday, Shipley said, finding nothing. Nearby Greenwood Middle School was searched by bomb-sniffing dogs yesterday when students heard rumors that explosives might have been placed in the school. Nothing was found, police said.

Police and school personnel said there was no indication that Boyce belonged to any clique or group advocating violence.

Other scares

Officials in Prince George's County evacuated Laurel High School yesterday morning after the discovery in a restroom of a note saying that a bomb would be detonated within minutes.

Efforts to move the school's 2,000 students out of the building led to nearly a dozen fights. One student was charged with second-degree assault, and officials ended classes for the day.

Students at North Carroll High School in Hampstead were left standing in the rain yesterday after the school received a bomb threat and officials decided to search the building from basement to roof.

Hampstead Police Chief Ken Meekins said someone called the school of 1,400 students at 9: 20 a.m. and the caller, apparently a young male, said, "There's bombs in the building," then hung up.

The students were outside for 15 to 20 minutes while the gymnasium and auditorium were searched and secured to allow them to come in out of the rain, they said. No bombs were found.

Police said they had no suspect and were investigating.

Sun staff writers Nancy A. Youssef, Sheridan Lyons and Christian Ewell contributed to this article.

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