SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Authorities say a live homemade bomb was found in front of a south Sacramento elementary school on Tuesday.
The Sacramento County Sheriff's Office says deputies responded to Ethel I. Baker Elementary School around 8 a.m. after a school employee reported seeing a suspicious device near the campus. The device looked like it had a fuse, the employee said.
An Explosive Ordnance Disposal team soon responded and discovered that it was indeed a live bomb with explosive materials inside, the sheriff's office says. A loaded "zip gun" (also known as a homemade or improvised weapon) was also found.
The pipe bomb was made up of a pipe with metal shrapnel, clay putty, fireworks and gasoline. The zip gun was made from steel piping with a spring-loaded cap and a 12 gauge shotgun round, according to investigators.
David Robles is a fifth-grader at the school and is still spending days learning from home. His parents have lived in the neighborhood for years and gave him permission to talk with CBS13 about what he saw as he watched deputies outside of his window.
"It was right in front of the school and I live right here so it was pretty scary," said Robles "That is not okay, because there are residents and people live here and something might go wrong."
The dangerous devices were found by a staff member of the Boys and Girls Club who is working with the school to help with their 'learning pods' made for students who need help with distance learning. The discovery came less than an hour before 48 students were set to arrive on campus at 9 am.
No children and only a limited number of staff were on campus at the time of the incident, the school says.
The bomb squad safely removed the device and checked the perimeter with dogs to sniff out any other potential explosives before announcing the area was clear. Investigators say the devices could have gone off at any moment.
"Certainly any explosive device would incapacitate anyone nearby. A child or someone touching it could set it off," said Sgt. Rod Grassmann, Sac County Sheriff's Office
The close call shocked those who live close by like Shaun Small, even in his busy neighborhood.
"There is a lot of stuff that occurs around here. A lot of people set off fireworks, make things up and set things off. You kind of get used to it, but people leaving guns here that's another story," Small said.
School officials say nine of their employees were on campus at the time. All students were told to stay home.
The scare comes a day after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced schools could reopen in April. School officials say they do not believe this was politically motivated or that they were the intended targets.
"I don't want to speculate but I think it is a random act, it was on the sidewalk right outside of the school. We don't know enough; we are reviewing camera footage to get a better sense of it," explained Principal Nate McGill.
An investigation is now underway.
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