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Man injured in package explosion that authorities believed ‘targeted’ a Carroll County resident

Authorities investigate a home in Carroll County where an explosion Friday injured a 28-year-old man.
Authorities investigate a home in Carroll County where an explosion Friday injured a 28-year-old man. (Wilborn P. Nobles III)

A package exploded at a Carroll County home, injuring a 28-year-old man in what authorities called a targeted incident.

The man was in stable condition Saturday at a hospital. Carroll County Sheriff Jim DeWees said the victim isn’t in a life-threatening condition.

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“We certainly believe what took place could have been life-threatening. It did significant damage to his house, so we believe he was very lucky,” the sheriff said.

DeWees said investigators believe the blast Friday in a residential area of Lineboro was intended for a person who lived at the home. DeWees called it “an isolated incident,” and said authorities do not believe there are other suspicious packages in the area.

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“We’re not fearful that there’s other packages floating around out there,” DeWees said.

“That’s not to say you shouldn’t be suspicious of a package that you get. Obviously, if it’s coming from a reputable company and [it’s something] you ordered and you know you ordered, then OK. But if it’s got a label on it that you’re not familiar with and you didn’t order anything, then you should be suspicious before opening it," he said.

Authorities were looking into why the package exploded.

“It’s going to take some time to determine if, in fact, it was a device, and if it was, what kind of device it was and how it was built and packaged, and we’ll get that support from the ATF and the state fire marshal,” DeWees said.

A news conference is scheduled for Monday at the sheriff’s office training academy. It will include representatives from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the FBI.

Michael Martel, a U.S. Postal Service inspector and public information officer, said the case "is not mail related” and that the parcel “did not travel through the U.S. mail.” He said the Postal Service is “not actively involved in the case right now.”

County officials responded Friday to the incident in the 3300 block of View Ridge Court near Valley Vista Court, near the Pennsylvania state line, along with fire and rescue personnel and the Maryland Office of the State Fire Marshal.

The on-scene investigation continued into Saturday afternoon, with a mobile command center for the sheriff’s office stationed on the street until about 3 p.m. Authorities canvassed the neighborhood and were seen examining an area near a large, tan, split-level house that was marked off with yellow caution tape. Parts of the building’s soffit — an exterior feature that’s generally located on the underside of eaves on a structure — appeared to have been blown loose and were hanging from the house.

A woman coming and going from the house Saturday declined to comment on behalf of the family that lives there.

Two marked patrol cars remained parked outside the home at sunset.

The house is surrounded by several equally large homes along what neighbors described as a usually quiet street.

Neighbor Darran Peed said his family heard a loud noise Friday. He thought the neighborhood’s transformer had malfunctioned because that device acts up “once a year." However, he said his two children then saw white smoke coming from the house next door.

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“The explosion shook our windows, but for me it wasn’t threatening. Thunderstorms do the same thing,” Peed said.

Peed said the authorities arrived soon afterward. When he walked over to the family’s house, Peed said the family’s grandchild was sitting in the driveway. The grandson “wasn’t in very good shape,” Peed said, because he had “huge gashes” across his legs.

The sheriff urged residents to call his department or their local police department if anyone is suspicious of a package they have received.

Carroll County Times Editor Bob Blubaugh and Baltimore Sun reporter Christina Tkacik contributed to this article.

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