Ijamsville man killed by bomb at his house


A 22-year-old Ijamsville man was killed yesterday when an allegedly homemade bomb went off behind his house, the state fire marshal's office said.

Ralph King of the 4700 block of Ijamsville Road was found by his wife Stacey, 21, in a yard between a three-car garage and a small storage building behind their home in the small Frederick County community, Deputy Chief Robert B. Thomas Jr. said.

The 4:53 p.m. explosion, which could be heard for several blocks, was so strong that Mr. King's left hand was amputated just above the wrist and both his legs were broken.

He was flown by state police helicopter to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where he died a short time later.

"From the evidence we collected we are certain that it was a form of homemade explosive," Chief Thomas said. "We do not know what his motive was in manufacturing the device nor do we know if it was the first time Mr. King had made a device."

Chief Thomas said there was "nothing to link" Mr. King to any crimes in Frederick or Washington counties, including the December 1989 bombing that injured Circuit Judge John P. Corderman. He said Mr. King was "never a suspect" in that bombing.

Chief Thomas did not know Mr. King's occupation. Yesterday's explosion was the first fatality from a homemade bomb in Maryland since 1987, he said.

Investigators from the state fire marshal's bomb squad found shrapnel from the explosive about 200 yards from where it went off, but the Kings' house was undamaged.

Investigators collected evidence to determine what the bomb was made of and how it was detonated, Chief Thomas said. "Many homemade bombs can be sophisticated," he said. "It does not take a brain surgeon to be able to manufacture one."

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