LLHS student arrested after explosion in trash can
By Deborah Fox
News-Bulletin Staff Writer
A 17-year-old Los Lunas High School junior was arrested after an explosion occurred in a hallway of the school between noon and 1 p.m. Wednesday.
Desi Garcia, director of security and safety at Los Lunas Schools, who would not disclose the name of the student, said the explosion sounded like a loud firecracker.
It was determined the explosive device was in an 8-ounce plastic water bottle containing a reactive substance. The bottle was found in a trash can in one of the school’s hallways. A second detonated bottle bomb was found on top of a building later during a search of the school.
Fellow LLHS students identified the teenager responsible for the bottle bomb, and when the student was searched, five more bottles were found in his backpack. The student was taken into custody and charged with possession of an explosive device, Garcia said.
The Los Lunas Fire Department and the Albuquerque Police Department Bomb Squad were called, and assured school officials the item could not cause serious injury or damage.
“They’ve had several of these cases in Albuquerque,” Garcia said. “One in particular with one of the high schools, where their track team was setting them off inside the campus.”
Once it was understood the devices were not of a destructive nature, school officials decided not to interrupt scheduling.
“We didn’t feel the need to evacuate or lock down the campus,” Garcia said.
School officials met with Juvenile Probation Department officials, who recommended they transport the suspect to the Bernalillo County Juvenile Detention Center.
“He was arrested and charged,” Garcia said. “He’s going to face administrative sanctions.”
According to the 13th Judicial District Court, formal charges have not been filed as of Thursday afternoon.
Garcia said the high school junior has been suspended for 10 days, pending either a long-term suspension or expulsion hearing. The hearing must occur within 10 school days.
Garcia said the student was trying to pull a “customary prank” as an incoming junior against outgoing seniors.
“They do this every year,” Garcia said. “I wish they would find a better way to let everybody know they are the incoming seniors.”
-- Email the author at email@example.com.