• Search warrants reveal strange encounters with Elizabeth community attempted arson suspect

    By: Stephanie Tinoco

    Updated:

    PINEVILLE, N.C. - Residents in a Pineville community were told to stay inside their houses Thursday afternoon as the bomb squad arrived at one of their neighbors' homes.

    Now, court documents are helping to peel back the layers behind the massive scene and the investigation has expanded to include guns, coyotees, and child molesters. 

    Chopper 9 SkyZoom was over the scene as dozens of police and SWAT team personnel swarmed the neighborhood.

    “It looked like a war zone was about to take place. It did scare me,” neighbor Randy Taylor said. “First time I’d ever seen SWAT team like this."

    Police said they were serving a warrant at a home at 808 Cone Avenue, near Highway 51 around 1:30 p.m. The scene was part of an arson investigation that started on Dec. 22 at Chantilly Corner Studios on Shenandoah Avenue in Charlotte's Elizabeth neighborhood.

    [RELATED: Police investigate after possible homemade bomb explodes in Charlotte neighborhood]

    No injuries were reported and the building had minimal damage after the fire allegedly was set earlier in the morning.

    No high explosives were used but other materials, including accelerants, were used in the incident, investigators said.

    They told Channel 9 a suspect was arrested at the Cone Avenue home Thursday, but that person’s identity has not been released. Charges are pending.

    From Chopper 9, dozens of CMPD vehicles could be seen lining the streets around the home. Witnesses said SWAT was seen in the neighborhood earlier in the afternoon.

    The scene was less than a half mile from Pineville Elementary School.

    "Maybe 15 to 20 people. They had their assault rifles, bulletproof vests on, and everything. One of them was laying down at that corner, and another corner. One was behind that tree," Taylor said.

    Police said the suspect is in jail.

    “I don’t know what all he’s involved in,” Taylor said. “They brought him out of the house handcuffed and brought him right over where that door is.”

     

    Officials said they were collecting evidence and found some items that needed to be handled by the bomb squad. Authorities said the undisclosed objects will be opened remotely.

     

    They said they've spoken with the residents who needed to stay inside, but the danger level was relatively low. 

    Search warrants revealed the victim called police the night before the incident when he thought he heard gunshots near his house.

    Officers said when they responded, they did not find anyone. 

    The next morning, the victim found the remnants of a homemade explosive that had been denoated. 

    The search warrant listed other examples of strange encounters with the same suspect. 

    One neighbor told officers he was home eating dinner in January when he heard an explosion next door. He said the blast was so power, it rattled his windows. 

    Another person told officers a man dressed in camouflage, confronted him with a rifle. 

    The man told him the neighborhood paid him to hunt coyotes and he also made a comment about child molesters. 

    The most recent encounter unfolded outside his home, where documents show officers arrested the suspect and recovered four guns, ammo, and fireworks. 

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