An East Texas neighborhood is forced to evacuate after an explosion. Officials say the man responsible was planning on targeting two people. The explosion killed 38-year-old James Torrence. Investigators say he was making a pipe bomb at the time of the explosion. This all happened around 8:20 last night in the 200 Block of Rowe Avenue in Longview. That's North of downtown.
The ATF was called out after officials from the fire department found numerous firearms. The ATF found a second pipe bomb in Torrence's home. The neighborhood was then evacuated while the bomb was safely detonated. Officials also found documentation in the house, saying Torrence was planning on using the bombs to target two people.
"Typically when you make a pipe bomb you've got an idea behind them and with the documentation we found in there, he had two people he targeted because he thought they had gone to the ATF and told on his activities with weapons and drugs," said Assistant Fire Marshall Brian Howell of the Longview Fire Department. Howell says Torrence is no stranger to law enforcement.
"He's got numerous charges for weapons and drugs and he's been an arson suspect on several arson cases and mailbox bombings," said Howell. Patricia Poindexter just moved into her home two weeks ago. She says she cannot believe this was happening in her neighborhood.
"We were asleep and all of a sudden we just heard a very loud bang, and it sounded like a very loud gun shot," said Patricia Poindexter, Torrence's neighbor. "It literally felt like it happened right in our home." Other neighbors say they often heard Torrence making noise.
"We've heard gun shots up there several times," said Verda Moore, Torrence's neighbor. The ATF found six guns in Torrence's house, including a pistol with a silencer in his bathroom, and a machine gun under his bed. Torrence also had cameras placed around his house, and a sensor that activated his lights. Officials say the explosion could have been a lot worse.
"Had either one of these bombs been placed under a vehicle, which we assumed that was the case to be, it would have destroyed the vehicles," said Howell. The fire department says ATF searched Torrence's house and has removed all dangerous materials. They say the neighborhood is safe. Officials also say for the most part, the investigation is over.