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Calif. man with bombs 'ready for war'

By Ryan Sabalow
The Record-Searchlight

The suspect had 11 crude bombs, 70 loaded magazines and more than 4,000 rounds of ammunition. (Photo: Yreka Police Dept.)

YREKA, Calif. — Police say a Sacramento man was “ready for war” with the town of Yreka when he arrived Tuesday carrying a massive cache of explosives and armaments.

Yreka police say they found 70 loaded magazines, more than 4,000 rounds of ammunition, one stolen pistol, two assault weapons, three other weapons (one with a silencer), surveillance equipment, 16 homemade improvised explosive devices, a tactical vest and face masks.

That’s not counting the IED Michael Solano, 54, had allegedly stashed in his boot.

“This guy was ready for war,” Yreka Police Chief Brian Bowles said today. “We were very lucky this guy was stopped and nobody was killed yesterday.”

The call sounded routine at first —a report of a person acting “weird” on Annie Street, Bowles said.

An officer responded.

But when the officer went up to speak to him, the suspect went for his pistol, Bowles said.

The two struggled over the weapon.

Bowles said two people, Darrell Bourne and Brett Duncan both of Yreka, jumped in to help, eventually wresting the gun away from the suspect, who continued to try to pry the officer’s stun gun and pistol out of his grasp.

Eventually Solano was subdued, but not before officers discovered the bomb in his boot and the weapons cache in his car, Bowles said.

The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s bomb squad was called in.

Sheriff’s detective Ben Grossman, a certified bomb technician, suited up and was able to safely remove the explosives.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Susan Gravenkamp said the bombs ranged in size from six to 18 inches long.

Each of the devices was designed to fragment like a grenade to further “injure and kill,” Gravenkamp said.

Grossman was able to transport the devices in the sheriff’s office explosive trailer to the rural the Siskiyou County airport, where they were safely detonated in a four-foot deep pit.

Meanwhile, Solano was arrested and booked into the Siskiyou County jail, where he is being held today in lieu of $2 million bail.

“I truly believe that this guy was going to rain war on the citizens of Yreka,” Bowles said. “We are lucky that the quick response from officers and help from the citizens saved us from a very serious incident.”

Copyright 2008 The Record-Searchlight

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