News

Bomb-making materials found in Palo Alto apartment

Apartment complex in 700 block of Arastradero Road evacuated this afternoon as sheriff's bomb squad moves in

Police working on an investigation found bomb-making materials in an apartment in the 700 block of Arastradero Road midafternoon today, according to police.

Interim Police Chief Dennis Burns reported that police officers discovered "materials associated with bomb-making" when they were investigating a related case.

Police Agent Dan Ryan said officers contacted a youth at Gunn High School and went to the apartment where he lived with his parents, where they found chemicals associated with bomb-making. The contact with the minor was initiated several weeks ago due to suspicious circumstances noticed during a traffic stop, Ryan said.

He said no threats were involved in the earlier, ongoing investigation, but declined to discuss details.

The three-story apartment complex has about 40 apartments, some of them vacant. Occupied apartments were evacuated as a precaution as bomb-squad members checked out the youth's apartment.

Comments

Posted by Rush, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 28, 2009 at 4:38 pm

A home-grown terrorist at Gunn High School?


Posted by Dennis, a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 28, 2009 at 4:42 pm

Terrorist acts in the US are over 90% homemade - and this does not include the 9/11 accusations, or homegrown, free trade, Goldman Sachs
style shock and awe economics.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2009 at 4:57 pm

Is this the same apartment block involved in the shooting which caused lockdowns in schools in this area a few weeks back?


Posted by gunn parent, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 28, 2009 at 5:02 pm

No,not the same apartment complex, but nearby. The apartment complex where the bomb-making chemicals were found is right next to Gunn High School. Lots of police activity there this afternoon


Posted by Rush, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 28, 2009 at 5:05 pm

I think the shooting case was near El Camino Real. This new case is near Foothill Expressway.


Posted by Rush, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 28, 2009 at 5:09 pm

Anyone know what "chemicals associated with bomb-making" means? You could easily make a lethal bomb with common household products like drain cleaner or laundry bleach or garden fertilizer or gasoline. Did this kid actually have canisters and fuses?


Posted by Dekel S., a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 28, 2009 at 5:21 pm

Wow, this city just hasn't ceased to amaze me recently. Personally not surprised it was a Gunn student though.

At least no one was harmed and the police found the materials before they were possibly used.


Posted by oh yeah, a resident of Southgate
on Apr 28, 2009 at 5:37 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by T, from Duveneck/St Francis, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 28, 2009 at 5:41 pm

T, from Duveneck/St Francis is a registered user.

No need to be rude. It is legitimately the business of anyone who lives in this town and Rush has the right to share an opinion.


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 28, 2009 at 6:11 pm



Very troubling,
This case reminds me of the De Anza student a few years ago who had both explosives and plans to use them.
Sounds like very solid detective work by PAPD-- well done!


Posted by ridiculous, a resident of another community
on Apr 28, 2009 at 6:15 pm

The Police are blowing this way out of proportion. This kid likely wanted to cook up some smoke bombs and got caught and now the police are making a huge fuss.


Posted by Rachel, a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 28, 2009 at 6:23 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
I sincerely doubt the kid was making an actual bomb.
As the caption for one of the photos says...:

"... a Gunn High School student suspected of having chemicals that could be used to make a bomb or fireworks."

I'm guessing it was the latter


Posted by somebody, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 28, 2009 at 6:44 pm

dude the guy is perfectly innocent. I know him.


Posted by PAUSD Parent, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 28, 2009 at 6:47 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Gunn Alumn, a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 28, 2009 at 6:52 pm

I know this kid and he's a good guy. This story is blowing the situation way out of proportions. There was no malicious intent going on, no attempts to harm anyone or anything. Comparing this to Columbine is not only ridiculous but offensive not only to him but everyone who knows him and his family.


Posted by Student, a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 28, 2009 at 7:01 pm

This kid is probably the nicest person in all of Palo Alto. Definitely not making a bomb.


Posted by Also Alumn, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 28, 2009 at 7:04 pm

I also know this kid. Saying that he is some sort of homegrown terrorist is just absurd. As the other alumn said, there was never and would have never been any intent to harm anyone or anything. Perhaps before you go and make assumptions about what is going on, you should ask for a more detailed article that tells the actual story, not just the story that will sound exciting and dangerous.


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 28, 2009 at 7:11 pm


The FBI and Home Land Security will look into this, they know what they are doing and they will arrive at the truth in this matter.


Posted by Nick, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 28, 2009 at 7:12 pm

This article is saying anyone with the same ingredients is a suspect to a bomb threat. Wow, how smart do police get? See this is why you go to college and gain more common sense. I have vinegar and baking soda in my kitchen, so do other people. Some terrorist.


Posted by Gunn Alum, a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 28, 2009 at 7:13 pm

This kid is one of the nicest, most harmless kids I know. There's no way he was even remotely involved in something that could hurt someone else. His family are good people, hard working and neighborly. The police and media have blown this out of proportion. There's nobody and nothing dangerous in that apartment.


Posted by Also, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 28, 2009 at 7:13 pm

The kid is a really nice guy, who i have known and been around for two plus years. For his sake i am not going to say who he actually is, but really, get the full story before making assumptions of terrorism and school shootings.

@ Sharon-- Detective work? Really? There is no need for the bomb squad, and all the evacuations? This story is full of sensationalism and blowing the facts right out the window. Before you compare this kid to some nut job who wanted to kill a bunch of people, why don't you actually wait and see what is really going on.


Posted by Question, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 28, 2009 at 7:34 pm

If he is such a great guy and nice kid why are the police targeting him and his home? They must have a concern. Even good guys do dumb things.


Posted by Gunn Alum '08, a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 28, 2009 at 7:36 pm

This kid and his parents will be vindicated by the facts.

The facts are, he's a harmless kid who poses no threat to society or others. He's a nice guy, active in his community, well-adjusted, who makes friends wherever he goes. I'd no more suspect him of any sort of crime than I would anyone else in our quiet suburb.

Don't blow this out of proportion. Don't be that average American who can't interpret media sensationalism and incomplete facts. Don't act on or make statements about an incomplete picture of reality. We live in times of fear, and now more than ever we need to recognize when our uncertainty makes us irrational.

Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

God bless


Posted by Hmmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 28, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Only time and the facts will bear this out.


Posted by Fireworks, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 28, 2009 at 7:53 pm

Back in the 70's I used to make home-made fireworks out of Salt Peter, charcoal, sulphur and metal shavings. Was I a bomb maker?


Posted by Alum, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 28, 2009 at 7:56 pm

@ Fireworks in midtown: according to our police, yes, yes you were.


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 28, 2009 at 8:14 pm

In the 70s people did all sorts of stupid things eg, smoking, LSD, promiscuity, weather underground, EST,etc. drugs, sex, rock and roll-- is now Meth, AIDS and Rap

Times have changed, kids in the scouts can fire 22s, build rockets etc safely but we have seen a dangerous breakdown in adult supervision.
How can a teenager build explosives in an apartment if parents are there?


Posted by Student, a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 28, 2009 at 8:26 pm

@ Sharon: You seem to be disregarding all the posts by people who know and have been in close proximity to this kid and his family. The reason we KNOW he wasn't making a bomb is because (as I said before) he is the nicest, most non-violent person alive. "How can a teenager build explosives in an apartment if parents are there?", he wasn't. And seeing as his parents (which you obviously haven't met) aren't at all negligent with their kid, they would have noticed. Again: HE WAS NOT BUILDING A BOMB.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 28, 2009 at 8:28 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Nick is right. Almost everyone has the ingredients of a bomb in their house.


Posted by m, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2009 at 8:31 pm

People definitely need to stop jumping to conclusions and assuming he had plans to use the materials in a harmful way. What the police did was really unnecessary and absurd.


Posted by Also Alum, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 28, 2009 at 8:33 pm

@Sharon- Why would the FBI let alone HLS bother with a high school kid making some fireworks in his living room. I would personally be offended if they bothered with this trivial a matter. In fact, diverting those agencies to deal with something that should not even be this big a deal, would be borderline treason, which, unlike this stupid situation, is a serious offense.

Perhaps he could do what he was doing because his parents knew what he was doing, and knew that he was old enough to handle whatever happened. The guy likes chemistry and was trying some stuff out. No reason to storm his house with a bomb squad and evacuate the whole building. Nor is it necessary to lead him off in hand cuffs. The guy is super easy going, and easily more well adjusted than 60% of the people i know at Gunn.

Stop making wild accusations and assumptions about this guy. He and his family don't need your negativity, and quite frankly, nor does the community.

If the police were to go digging around in your business, i am sure that they would find something out of place, and i am sure as hell you wouldn't want that to happen, so why would this guy want that? Why would his parent want that?


Posted by Student, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 28, 2009 at 8:42 pm

If you have ever said something mean about anyone to this guy, and heard his response you would laugh at this article. I have never in all my life met anyone so frustratingly compassionate. The mere thought that he would individually or otherwise target ANYONE is absurd. His only fault seems to be bad luck and an over willingness to cooperate. It's funny how the actual good people get punished, while others walk around flaunting their misdemeanors daily and are still around to continue doing so.


Posted by BRAINS, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 28, 2009 at 8:53 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by student, a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 28, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Just goes to show what happens when high school teachers show us Na demonstrations and thermite labs. Kids get carried away and make a little thermite... then play with gas... then with black powder... then make nitroglycerin, perhaps a few propane tanks after that; then they're too deep down the hole and have started making legitimate explosives like AMFOS, plastiks and others. Thanks teachers, chemAP might as well be bomb101.


Posted by upset, a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 28, 2009 at 9:10 pm

@poster above me: chem AP does not teach people how to make explosives... is that really the story you're going to go with? Anybody with a computer and an internet connection can learn far more than anything taught in a high school chemistry class if they were trying to do some damage. Clearly you need to get out from under your rock and see the world. Actually, you could stay under your rock and use wikipedia. chemistry is a noble profession and ensuring our kids have a solid education in the physical sciences is the key to our economic future.


Posted by OMG, a resident of Stanford
on Apr 28, 2009 at 9:11 pm

Like many people before, I totaly think this thing is totaly out of proportion. And like others have said before me, you can make a bomb with a lot of things. I'm pretty sure this wouldn't have been so much of a big deal if the ingredients were found somewhere not near Gunn, or if it happened before the shooting.
poor guy, I really feel for him.


Posted by Terman student, a resident of Terman Middle School
on Apr 28, 2009 at 9:18 pm

I dont know about you guys, but I'm worried about the kids future. Whether these are real bombs, or its a false alarm, how do you think this guys is gonna get a job in the future. Not even a 7-11 will hire him after what was either blown out of porportion or is a real thing. Are we all really so self centered we'd rather prove a point than worry about the person we have an opinion of. Thats why after pressing the enter button, my point is stated, I will not look at this page again to argue about it.


Posted by JH, a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 28, 2009 at 9:37 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by student, a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 28, 2009 at 9:44 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Gunn High Student, a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 28, 2009 at 9:45 pm

It's sad and scary how paranoid people can become. I know personally the "suspicious cirmcumstances" this article refers to are completely ridiculous; the boy was walking near his house at 11 pm and stopped by the police for doing so! Also, the article clearly states "no threats were involved in the earlier, ongoing investigation." This student is seriously, no joke, one of the nicest kids in Palo Alto, who literally refuses to hurt anybody. What was found at his house were for fireworks; to suspect that he would even think of bombing anything is absurd.


Posted by Gunn parent of 2, a resident of Ventura
on Apr 28, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Why so negative folks? Maybe the project is for AP Chemistry and he'll get a full scholarship!


Posted by Honest Student, a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 28, 2009 at 10:28 pm

I happen to know this guy. He is not a terrorist, nor did he at any point have the intention to harm anyone. He is a bight individual with the odd habit of learning outside a classroom. Just caught in any unlucky situation. The so called bomb-making materials are what you'd expect to see any pyrotechnics hobbyist using to make explosives (fireworks might be a better term here). You can learn this kind of stuff on the internet, yes your AP chem class, or a nice old book.I'm sure if the explosive were going to be used, it would be int he safest possible way.
Hopefully the repercussions taken won't be too harsh, I know there are other students with pyrotechnic materials in their possession, perhaps their parents don't even know of it. Considering that, I still feel safe at school because their intention is not to hurt people, but instead, to put on a nice display.
I don't believe hating on the cops is the right response to have. They are doing their job, if there are potential hazardous materials, extreme precaution must be taken. Thus the later found uneccesary bomb squad.
I wish such attention would be given to a few other problems at Gunn, such as the growing drug use, students with shortening lifespans due to lack of sleep, bad health habits, overbearing parents when it comes to grades, standerds that are set to high.


Posted by Gunn High Student, a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 28, 2009 at 10:34 pm

This has been blown ridiculously out of proportion. One of the officers on the site stated that the concerns were over fireworks, not bomb-materials, or materials for making fireworks.

FIREWORKS, not bomb materials.


Posted by The Truth, a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 28, 2009 at 10:45 pm

He had a large amount of firework/explosives in his home and auto. Why??? Glad no one was hurt or killed.


Posted by sigh, a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 28, 2009 at 10:45 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by Worried resident, a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 28, 2009 at 11:09 pm

As a resident of this building, I strongly feel that the police did a super job in finding the explosives. As a community it is our responsibility to create an awareness amongst youth in particular, that no potential fire hazards be stored in any form.


Posted by MoM by Gunn, a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 28, 2009 at 11:17 pm

Anyone remember the three Gunn students a few years back who had their explosion go wrong when it was in the garbage can near the quad area?
It injured a few passerbys..the kids responsible had to appear in front of the school, hang their heads down and tell others all the reasons why they shouldn't try the same thing..........The madness was to be a prank, I believe...wonder what they went on into life to become...


Posted by Also Alumn, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 28, 2009 at 11:18 pm

Best get rid of the gas stove, and those light bulbs, don't forget all aerosols, many cleaning agents, the list goes on. Can't have any fire hazards in the house...

The guy knew what he was dealing with, how volatile it is, and what could happen should something go wrong. Its not like he got his hands on some fireworks and didn't know what he was doing. He is really smart, and knew how to handle and contain the stuff he was working with.


Posted by Sensationalism, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 28, 2009 at 11:18 pm

They did not by any means have a large amount of fireworks or explosives in either their home or on their person. They also don't drive, the article and the source is flat out wrong when it states that suspicion first arose during a 'traffic stop'. This person would be the least likely person to ever inflict harm on someone else, especially relative to what this sensationalist article tries to make them out to be.

I know this because I know them and talked with them about what really happened weeks before any of this was even in consideration.


Posted by Also Alumn, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 28, 2009 at 11:20 pm

@ The Truth- Nothing was said about a "large amount" of anything. Nor was there anything about his car, which, unless things have drastically changed with the family, he doesn't even have.

You sure you read the article we all read?????


Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of another community
on Apr 28, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Something like this was inevitable. It's been 6 months since the last scandal in the PAPD, They are way overdue.


Posted by Alum, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 28, 2009 at 11:46 pm

Know the individual involved. The traffic stop was him getting talked to by police for walking on the street after 11pm (a curfew stop essentially). And the bomb making materials was fireworks. This article blows the circumstances way outta proportion.


Posted by YSK, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 29, 2009 at 3:29 am

The article stated some facts in the telling of this story. Nick, most Palo Alto cops ARE college educated at four year colleges, how snobby of you to assume differently!

Where I come from on Long Island the Grucci family made all the Fireworks for the Fourth of July. Just about every few years somebody in the family blew themselves or a structure up accidentally; and they were supposed to be the experts.

Nothing criminal, just accidents. Stuff happens. Better to use caution no matter what this kid was messing with. Teens aren't synonymous with good judgment.

Besides, on the other side of the coin; how many times do you read something has happened and everyone who knew the person was shocked and commented on how amazingly nice that person was? Happened last time with the Hopkins kid and his buddy. You never really know people.

The remarks about how we all have bomb making materials in our homes seem pointless. Do you SEE cops leading Palo Altans out of their homes one by one carrying out evidence bags containing baking soda?

Y'all get on your high dudgeon putting down others for commenting on what they read and what they don't know, seems kind of hypocritical to me. You're doing it too. You know one or two aspects of the story, not its entirety.

The cops were just doing their jobs, the kid wasn't named, the paper is removing comments that may name him, no one was harmed and the cops did their jobs. Old cliche bit sound, better safe than sorry!


Posted by YSK, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 29, 2009 at 3:37 am

Oh and by the way Nick? Add on to those four year college degrees training at the police academy, specialized training/education and continuing education and I dare say they are better educated than most in what they do.

Yanno, job like theirs, entails power and weaponry, being highly trained just makes common sense.


Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 29, 2009 at 4:11 am

I'm glad my childhood was long ago. The new urban environment is no place for creativity. It's all about conformance and never doing anything which could be considered "suspicious circumstances". Ever get caught in your driveway with a glass bottle of gasoline and strips of a torn up T-shirt? No longer a viable method of cleaning your bicycle chain. The life-lesson here, for kids and adults, is to be very scrupulous about appearances. The population has been conditioned to always assume the worst.


Posted by Also Alumn, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 29, 2009 at 5:17 am

@ YSK- I would think that is is snobby of yourself assume, without knowing the guy, if he has good judgment or not. Yes, he is a teenage, and the average teen may not have the best judgment about this sort of thing, but since i knew the guy, i would say that he has great judgment on what would and would not be safe for him, his family, and the people living around him.


Posted by Also Alumn, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 29, 2009 at 5:20 am

And @ musical- While i am not going to disagree with everything you said, i would say that creativity has changed due the the urban environment.

I would say that people these days are wrapped up in the fear, and don't trust other people, not even in the slightest, and that is just sad. You may have never met the guy, but at least assume that he has the safety of the people around him in mind


Posted by Bruce Li, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 29, 2009 at 7:07 am

Don't forget when a few Gunn students several years ago decided to make what I'm sure was thought to be a harmless smoke device. It was ignited inside of an old cement drinking faucet and began to spew 30' flames causing serious burn injuries to nearby students....Do you think maybe the police wanted to make sure a similar mistake did not occur again by taking the necessary and appropriate action to protect the public?

Better to prevent a potential crime or tragedy from occurring than respond to another juvenile error in "judgment " that turned tragic.....Great job PAPD!


Posted by john doe, a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 29, 2009 at 7:27 am

You just never know who you live next to. It's a shame that the parents didnt even let the police know about it before yesterday. I feel sorry for all of the tenents who had to stand outside freezing because of this. I think he should have been arrested. Much stress was caused to the manager and tenents,due to this bomb threat.


Posted by Also Alumn, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 29, 2009 at 8:10 am

I still see no mention of any bomb threat. And as far as i know, the police initiated the search with the permission of the student, since he was cooperating. An arrest my be justified, but taking him away in hand cuffs like a violent crime offender is just over the top to me


Posted by rational, a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 29, 2009 at 8:27 am

I think we should all step back and think about this rationally.
I am 100% confident that the individual involved has no ill intention. He may be ignorant of the law, but he is most probably not thinking of harming anyone.
On the other hand, the police has an obligation to investigate any suspicious activities in the city, to make sure everyone is safe. What is not clear, is how the police assumed that this was becoming a bomb threat. Certainly, being stopped late at night for curfew is not grounds for suspicion in explosive activities. I thought the curfew for minors were meant to protect these minors, and stopping them at night is a way to keep them out of harms way, not the other way around.
Whatever triggered the police to go in with full force is the source of the problem. I hope the police acted upon misinformation by concerned people, and not by their own misjudgement because of the curfew incident. With correct information regarding the situation, a simple knock on the door, and an investigation on the source of the material would probably resolve the issue, without causing paranoia to the community.
What I fear is that the damage has been done. Some folks in the community have already assumed that this kid who is curious in Chemistry, is indeed a malicious person, and Palo Alto is no longer a safe place to live. Some folks have assumed that our police is stepping into our private lives, and they may have already lost confidence in our local police. Let's all step back and think rationally, and you will find that we are all just good people.
What I hope for the city and police is to handle this case rationally, with no pre-assumptions about what the kid is trying to do.


Posted by Student, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 29, 2009 at 9:44 am

Just because someone lives next to a school and has some "suspicious materials" does not insinuate that he is planning on using them at school. Would there be such an overreaction if he lived elsewhere? The ignorance of some of the commentators would anger me if it weren't for the misinformation of the article. You should know by now that news reporters will go to any low to excite people. And you should be upset with the police, not the kid, for making you stand out in the cold. I truly hope that society has progressed past the old time gossip scene where everyone takes as fact any sort of rumor that the news puts out there.


Posted by Grandma, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 29, 2009 at 11:07 am

Several years ago a couple of kids did let a bomb off at Gunn. I don't blame the PAPD for taking this seriously, there is history here.


Posted by YSK, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 29, 2009 at 11:33 am

@ also alum (are we all Twittering now?): I swear reading comprehension is at an all time low. I did not state THIS PARTICULAR youth has poor judgement, I was speaking generally.

Did you not note the use of the word:teens?


Posted by G-TOWN, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 29, 2009 at 11:50 am

Im not shocked at all.why are you folks?Take a look at your comunity & figure out what you can do to make it safer.I know you dont exspect it in your backyard but this is a problem every where.


Posted by YSK, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 29, 2009 at 12:04 pm

Perhaps the article should have been 'Possible Bomb...' since so many are taking this so literally.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 29, 2009 at 1:05 pm

It would appear that the Dalai Lama is posing as a high school boy interested in ingredients that can make fireworks or a bomb - look at all these comments about how loving, compassionate, non-violent, kind and near-perfect this teenager is!


Posted by Alum, a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Why do you assume that a loving, compassionate, non-violent, kind kid couldn't be interested in making fireworks. In our society Good and Law Abiding aren't mutually inclusive. I understand that laws are there to protect people and those they interact with, but the trend of strict laws and lax law enforcement that we see in our society is one I must admit worries me.

On any given day, I'm certain hundreds of people break the speed limit on Arastradero alone. Each and every one of those people is guilty of a crime, yet none of them get in trouble, and, let's face it, the vast majority of them are probably good people. Wouldn't it be better world if laws were reasonable yet strictly enforced? Perhaps one day Law Abiding and Good will be mutually inclusive.

In Palo Alto, it is illegal to park your car in the same spot on a curb for more than 72 hours. You can be a model citizen and still be guilty of a crime for an idiotic reason such as that.

To be interested in making your own fireworks isn't a sign of delinquency or maliciousness, it's a sign of curiosity and intellect, and perhaps a slightly underdeveloped common sense.

That being said, the police were doing their job, and while the situation could have been handled in a much less sensationalist manner. It's not wrong to take extra precautions.


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 29, 2009 at 2:27 pm



This is a case of better safe than sorry.

If I were a tenant in that apt complex I would be very worried about someone making and storing explosives in the building.

If it were in isolated building on a farm somewhere that would be another matter, but this was a high occupancy building near a school.


Posted by gunn parent, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 29, 2009 at 3:19 pm

This case shows that our legal system works. Think Roxana Saberi,from North Dakota, recently sentenced to 8 years in an Iranian prison for espionagefollowing a one-day closed trial. As in the case of this Gunn student, everyone who knows her believes the charges are completely ridiculous.
I'm sorry that this young man, who sounds like a great guy, experienced such an upset, but I'm very glad that the PA police responded strongly to an unknown but (for all they knew) potentially dangerous situation. I'm equally glad that they thoroughly investigated before they acted, and after gathering all of the facts, they released him to his parents. More than we can say for Saberi.
Hopefully, all will respect his anonymity, and he can go on with his promising life.


Posted by Bad Grammar, a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2009 at 3:21 pm

Good ol' Palo Alto contradiction:

"...what appeared to be bomb-making materials they found in the apartment he shared with his parents..."

"There were reports that the youth's intent was to make fireworks or some other explosive device and not a bomb as such."


Posted by Arastradero West Urn, a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 29, 2009 at 9:19 pm

I'm amazed at posters here who thinks a 17 year old has the capacity to act "responsibly" (read adult-like) with anything, much less hazardous materials. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Some posters are concerned for the kid's future because of this investigation. Are these same posters, and the kid himself, concerned about the present neighbors who live within potential blasting range? Are we who live here obliged to put our fate in the hands of this kid's so-called "intelligence" because he may be a "bright student" at Gunn? I work at Gunn -- forget about it!

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

The Lease Contract signed by all tenants clearly states hazard materials not allowed. I hope the apartment management utilizes its authority and delivers a three-day expulsion notice.


Posted by Gunn Alumn, a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 29, 2009 at 10:19 pm

To Arastradero West Urn, [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] The materials were not explosive and would not be like a bomb going off. Their room does not smell toxic. There would be no blast range.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Nobody was even close to being in danger, but your bias seems to keep you from ignoring reality.


Posted by Gunn Student, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 29, 2009 at 10:27 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Gunn Student, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 29, 2009 at 10:34 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Gunn High School is filled with far worse miscreants who actually don't care about anyone else's safety. And because they're getting away with it, a far bigger deal is made over small things to make up for it. I urge Gunn High School to look closer at the people that they are putting in charge. They've done a good job in the past, let's keep it that way.


Posted by YSK, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 30, 2009 at 8:53 am

Parking your car for 72 hours will not blow the neighbors to the next County. Unless of course, it has Firework making materials in it.

You are protesting a bit too much. Makes one wonder. Whatever happened, happened, and was largely over by the time the article was written.

Alum? What's with the slander accusation when you are the one posting someones name and address. Not cool.

PAonLine? THIS would be when you remove a posting.


Posted by Arastradero West Urn, a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 30, 2009 at 9:57 am

Please accept my sincere apologies for the tone of my previous Comment. In the process of expressing my opinion, yes, based on hearsay, dramatics got the better of my intentions.

For the record: I have no grudge against "the family" since I do not even know them nor have I ever met them properly. I do not have any intimate knowledge of the kid's personality. My Comments were made in the climate of being inconvenienced and denied access to my housing for several hours and other unspecified negative actions in this building. It was an unfair multiplication of things that got processed with this particular instance.

If I have offended anyone or demeaned Gunn HS in anyway, please accept this apology, sincerely.


Posted by Rich, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 30, 2009 at 11:02 am

"There were reports that the youth's intent was to make fireworks or some other explosive device and not a bomb as such".

The kid was trying to make fireworks...not a bomb. Stupid teenage move...yes, but not a terrorist


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