Explosive device found in WBR disarmed early Sunday

Authorities found an explosive device Saturday night near La. 415 and U.S. 190 in West Baton Rouge Parish, prompting an evacuation of houses within a block area of where the bomb was found.

West Baton Rouge sheriff’s deputies were called about 8:30 p.m. to a house near a truck stop at the intersection after a witness told the homeowner about someone suspicious in the homeowner’s driveway, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Col. Richie Johnson said Sunday.

Deputies arrived at 1368 W. Parkway Drive, near Plantation Avenue just off La. 415, and found the device in the homeowner’s pickup, Johnson said.

State Police and Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control officials were called to the scene to handle the device, which was disarmed using a State Police robot, Johnson said.

Authorities evacuated homes within about a block of where the bomb was discovered while it was being disarmed, Johnson said.

No one was injured, Johnson said, and authorities left the scene about 2:30 a.m.

Johnson declined to describe the explosive device but said it was taken in as evidence after being dismantled.

Authorities found only one bomb in the truck, which was examined but not taken in for evidence, Johnson said.

Investigators are not quite sure how the bomb was planted in the vehicle, Johnson said, but deputies are interviewing witnesses, including the home’s owner, and are developing a list of potential suspects.

People sitting on the steps of the West Parkway Drive home declined comment when approached Sunday afternoon.

James DeVillier, 63, lives on West Parkway Drive just a few houses down from where authorities found the bomb.

DeVillier said police knocked on his door and informed him and his wife of the bomb threat-induced evacuation.

“They just told us, ‘Go,’” DeVillier said. “We ended up going to a motel.” DeVillier said he wasn’t sure what to make of the scene Saturday night.

“I was just trying to figure out where (the bomb) was,” he said.

Charles Ferdinand, 60, lives on Plantation Avenue, which intersects with West Parkway Drive.

Ferdinand said he observed the scene from afar.

He said he went to the store earlier in the night, and when he returned, he saw police units parked on the street outside his home, blocking off traffic.

He said the scene was oddly calm because everyone around him mostly stayed inside during the disturbance.

“This has been a pretty calm neighborhood since we moved over here,” Ferdinand said. “I thought it was some kind of prank.”