AMBRIDGE (KDKA) — A man is now in custody after police say he dropped potentially deadly explosives out of his vehicle and left them on a residential street in Beaver County.
“This could’ve been a catastrophe, people could’ve been murdered,” Ambridge Police Chief James Mann said.
The 200 block of 13th Street was shut down Friday afternoon and dozens of homes nearby had to be evacuated. Commercial grade smoke bombs were duct taped together. They were about a foot long and an inch-and-a-half in diameter.
“Five of them taped together. This is like domestic terrorism,” Chief Mann said.
George Kutcher saw it all unfold. He had to evacuate home.
“A car came up the street there and slowed down, came to a stop, lit it and dropped it out the window and just took off up street very slowly and left the neighborhood,” Kutcher said.
“This is where it actually went off, smoke, and I just [moved] it over to there out of the middle of the road,” Army veteran John Brooks said.
Brooks said he just jumped into action.
“I live right here, so I walked down and seen the smoke, so I walked up. Cars were flying by, so I just moved it over off to the side,” Brooks said.
Two robots were brought in to safely remove the fireworks and put them in the back of the Allegheny County Bomb Unit. The FBI and ATF were also on scene.
Folks who go to the Firehouse Lounge on the corner of the street say the man accused of leaving the fireworks, later identified as Allen Lee Urban Jr., has threatened the bar in the past.
“Went to school with him, he’s a nut case. He’s thrown out of this bar. He came in one time had a gun, put the gun on the bar and threw a bunch of bullets on the bar,” Brian Crago said.
Police served a search warrant at Urban’s mother’s house and they found a 12-gauge shotgun and multiple fireworks in the basement. He lives in the living room of the home, and that’s where police say they found a partially-loaded handgun in between the mattresses and another handgun inside a case also in the living room.
“I have some people telling me today he’s trying to sell these commercial grade fireworks,” Chief Mann said.
It’s unclear where Urban got the fireworks.
He is being held at the Ambridge Police Department until he’s taken to the Beaver County Jail.
According to a criminal complaint, Urban reportedly admitted to constructing the device, telling an FBI agent that he was tired of a bartender the Firehouse Lounge spreading rumors about him. He said his intention was to scare patrons of the bar away.
He made multiple passive threats, stating “if I’m going out I’m taking innocent blood with me.”
Urban is facing a string of charges including: terroristic threats, recklessly endangering another person, propulsion of missiles onto roadway, aggravated assault, arson and risking catastrophe.