Colo. police arrest 5 in connection with chemical bomb thrown at officer

The five men are accused of throwing a homemade chlorine bomb at an officer and another man who had stopped to clear a street of a barricade


Saja Hindi
The Denver Post

ARVADA, Colo. — Arvada police arrested four men and a juvenile in connection with a chemical bomb that injured an officer and another man in west Arvada, police said.

The five teens are accused of throwing a homemade chlorine bomb at the officer and another man, who had stopped to clear a street of a barricade made from road signs and plastic wrap, according an Arvada Police Department arrest affidavit.

Within 24 hours of the attack, Maxwell McCann, 18; Braiden Ulmer, 19; Isaac Koch, 19; Gavin Dawson, 19; and an unnamed juvenile were arrested on suspicion of first-degree assault; criminal attempt of second-degree assault; two counts of possession, use or removal of explosives or incendiary devices; and conspiracy to commit possession, use or removal of explosives or incendiary devices.

The attack happened after midnight Saturday when an officer, identified as T. Grahn, responded to a call about the barricade on Beech Street, near the intersection of West 68th Avenue.

The street signs had been pulled out of the ground and placed in the street, creating a barricade. And plastic wrap was strung across the road and attached to signs.

Grahn saw a small plastic bottle near the poles and heard a man yell “Hey, asshole,” as a person ran away, the arrest affidavit said.

As the officer grabbed his flashlight and drew his gun and began to look around, one of the callers who reported the barricade approached and helped the officer move the signs, the affidavit said.

As they were moving signs, someone threw a plastic bottle, which began to shrink and release white smoke after it hit the ground, the documents stated. Grahn also smelled chlorine.

The caller helping move the signs said he had seen someone throw a smoke bomb before police arrived.

More officers arrived to search for suspects. As Grahn was working with them, he collapsed, the affidavit said. He was diagnosed with a chlorine gas exposure at Exempla Lutheran Medical Center. The bystander was treated at his home for minor injuries, the documents said.

While searching, police found three more bombs, and an Arvada Fire hazmat crew determined at least one of the devices was made of brake fluid and powdered chlorine, which caused the chemical reaction.

The five juveniles were identified as suspects after investigators found in a nearby field a Walmart receipt that listed ingredients purchased to make the devices. They obtained Walmart surveillance footage that showed the five suspects, according to the documents.

McCann, one of the teen suspects, told police he thought the gas from the bombs wasn’t toxic or harmful, according to the arrest affidavit.

The five are scheduled for an advisement on Friday.

Arvada Police Chief Link Strate said in a video released Monday that the police department is “grateful that our officer and the community member were not more seriously injured, although we do not yet know the long-term effects of this attack on them.”

The attack is not representative of the community, Strate said.

“We appreciate the support of our community and we take their safety and our officers’ safety very seriously,” Strate said.

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©2019 The Denver Post

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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