Crime And Law

Gang involvement probed after bomb-like explosion leaves truck, home damaged in Huber Heights

HUBER HEIGHTS — A Huber Heights neighborhood was awoken suddenly early Tuesday morning after a large, commercial-grade firework was detonated inside a pickup truck in an incident that’s now being investigated for possible gang connections.

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Police and fire crews were called on reports of an explosion in the 7100 block of Lunceford Road just before 2 a.m. Tuesday.

A 911 caller reported what appeared to have been a pipe bomb was detonated inside the truck, sending pieces of metal and glass through the street and yards.

“The preliminary investigation actually shows it might have been a commercial grade firework, which does have the destructive power of a pipe bomb as well,” Huber Heights police Sgt. Brian Carr told News Center 7′s Mike Campbell Thursday.

“Windows were blown out and the metal doorframes were bent. There were shards of medal thrown into the grass and into the street. Some of the debris actually did travel about 100 feet away from the truck as well,” Carr said.

The blast also destroyed a window of the home where the truck was parked in front of. Carr added the type of firework used was similar to one used for holiday firework shows put on by professionals.

“These are not ones that you can just go in and buy normally,” he said.

The explosion only caused property damage and no injuries were reported. Police looked into reports of a possible second device, however bomb squad members did not find other devices.

The preliminary police investigation has so far found the attack was targeted and could be connected to motorcycle gang involvement.

“Our understanding from the initial conversation is (a man at the house) was in this motorcycle gang. We’re not sure what argument has ensued, but this is an isolated incident between them. There is no danger to the neighbors or public,” Carr said.

Detectives are looking into leads about the possible gang-related activity and have been in discussions with a suspected gang for their possible involvement.

Neighbors were awoken to the blast with some thinking they were being shot at.

“I thought somebody had shot through the window because that’s what I noticed first was the hole in the window over there. And then I realized the truck was the one that got hit,” neighbor Cathy Miller said.

Cathy’s husband, Russell, said he saw on an indoor security camera his dog’s actions just before the blast went off.

“My dog, he knew it before it went off. He had the sense, he jumped up and started barking and then all the sudden you can hear it explode. He was right on it,” Russell said.

For the quiet neighborhood, the Millers said it was very unusual to even have multiple police cars on their street.

“We hardly even have any police come down this street. Then all the sudden that happens. I been living here for almost 17 years, never had anything like that,” Russell said.

In response to the attack, police have stepped up their patrols in the neighborhood, Carr said.

“This was not a prank, so to speak. This was a message to these people. This is 100 percent serious. We’re devoting all of our detective power to it at this point,” Carr said.

Huber Heights police are working with the Dayton Police Bomb Squad on the investigation. Dayton police told Huber Heights investigators even for them an incident like this is rare for the area.

“We’ve spoke to our contacts at the Dayton Police Department and they are familiar with this around the Fourth of July, but they haven’t seen incidents like this in several years,” Carr said.

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