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Two Arrested After Trying To Start ‘Race War’ With ‘Bomb’ At Elementary School

REUTERS/Mike Stone

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Amber Randall Civil Rights Reporter

A man who claims to be connected with the Black Panthers and a woman have both been arrested and charged in connection to a bomb threat at an Alabama elementary school.

Authorities announced Wednesday that Zachary Edwards, 35, and Raphel Dilligard, 34, have both been charged with possession of a fake destructive device, rendering false alarm and making terrorist threats, reports WBRC.

Edwards has a $600,000 bond while Dilligard has a $100,000 bond. Police said that both of the suspects confessed to the crime.

At first, Edwards confessed that he planted a device at the school in the hopes of luring police officers there to try and shoot them. Later, he changed his story and said he planted the bomb as a diversion so he could rob a bank.

Police are still investigating Edward’s claims that he has other partners and future plans.

Magnolia Elementary School students had to be put on lock down Nov.16 after officials received a 911 call of a potential bomb threat. Officials say that the 911 call came from Edwards who was trying to disguise his voice as a woman’s.

Officials examined the device that was left in the school parking lot. The device, made from a timer, wires, gun powder and play-dough, was not meant to actually explode.

Still, ATF Agent David Hyche maintained that calling the device a “hoax” is not correct, because even though it did not function properly, the device still had explosives in it

Police were able to apprehend the pair by tracing the 911 phone call. The phone was linked to the place where Edward lives. They also found footage from a Walmart that reportedly shows Dilligard buying play-dough and a timer.

Edwards claimed that he was a member of the Black Panthers and the Black Mafia, but officials have yet to confirm it. He also talked about starting a race war, but authorities did not expand on what he meant by that.

Edwards has a lengthy criminal history. In 1999, he was charged and convicted of attempted murder. He received a 15-year sentence, but it was later shortened to three.

“It always seem to be a little worse if children are involved … and maybe that’s what these defendants were thinking. If you do something at a school, you’ll get more attention,” Capt. Jeff Bridges said.

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