Explosive devices found in UC Davis dorm

Pipe Bombs Found in UC Davis Dorm
March 6, 2008 7:18:24 PM PST
A University of California at Davis student is in custody Thursday after investigators found the makings of two pipe bombs in his dorm room. However, they're wondering why students didn't report a previous explosion. Nearly 500 students had to evacuate the Tercero Residence Hall at UC Davis. Eighteen-year-old Mark Woods is the suspect.

Students describe Mark Woods as a bit of an eccentric, but nice, intelligent and in no way dangerous. Some say Woods was on the roof of his dorm Wednesday when something exploded, and apparently, no one reported it.

A peek inside the dorm room window of the freshman economics major may confirm his fascination for science -- a box mailed directly to him. Friends say that's not unusual for Woods of Torrance.

"He liked getting chemicals in the mail, like packages of chemicals... he probably just liked to experiment with them," said Angela Roh, Woods' former high school classmate.

Police say there wasn't any criminal intent, but Woods' hobby went too far.

The mother of a student who had seen the chemicals became concerned and called authorities Wednesday night. Investigators found two partially-assembled pipe bombs and ordered the evacuation of more than 450 students.

What's troublesome for police is students knew of at least one previous explosion before the discovery.

"It's scary that these kids didn't take it more serious. I don't think they realized how serious the situation was and didn't call us before this," said UC Davis Police Captain Joyce Souza.

Police questioned three other students, including one of Woods' roommates. Only Woods was ultimately charged with two felonies.

"I think it's way over the top. I just think they're overreacting and the charges brought against him are just absurd," said Sam Shackelford, Woods' roommate.

This incident forced UC Davis administrators to test their new emergency alert system installed late last year. They waited until this morning, though, to send out 53,000 urgent emails to the entire community.

"This was not a life-threatening situation for the whole campus. The whole campus was not at risk. There was no threat, but, it was something they needed to know," said Valerie Lucas, the campus emergency manager.

With students in the middle of midterms, they're anxious for things to get back to normal.

"I would be still feel comfortable having him back in the building. I wouldn't be afraid at all," said student Anthea

Woods will not be returning to campus anytime soon. According to university policy, students arrested and facing felony charges are put on interim suspension until the case is resolved.

The bombs are at an ATF lab in Walnut Creek.


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