PORT ANGELES — A Port Angeles man arrested July 29 and jailed on firearm and drug charges also may be accused of allegedly crafting two improvised explosive devices, said Port Angeles Sgt. Josh Powless.
David J. Pharr, 26, remained in the Clallam County jail Saturday on $75,000 bail for investigation of unlawful possession of a firearm, assault in the fourth degree-domestic violence and possession of methamphetamine.
Police also may accuse him of unlawful possession of an explosive device, Powless said.
The domestic violence charge is unrelated to the explosives investigation, Powless said.
Following Pharr’s arrest, Powless initially said that a State Patrol Explosives Unit had found deconstructed fireworks in Pharr’s Port Angeles residence that were intended to be meshed together for recreational purposes, but no pipe bombs.
Additional police reports Powless has received since then indicate there indeed were two pipe bombs found during the search that were confiscated by state troopers and rendered inert, Powless said.
“I just wanted to correct that,” Powless said late Thursday.
“Based on the information I had at the time, I didn’t know that. [The pipe bombs] weren’t listed on the property sheets … because the bomb squad takes them with them to make sure they are” safely disarmed, he said.
Mike Johnson, Port Angeles Police Department night patrol supervisor, was at the scene during the search and said both devices appeared to be homemade.
“They don’t look like pipe bombs,” Johnson said.
“It is not your classic galvanized pipe with a fuse sticking out of it, but they were improvised explosive devices and they were live.”
One device was enclosed inside an aluminum cylinder, while the second was in a PVC-type cylinder, Johnson said, and both were about 1 inch in diameter.
They were not filled with ball bearings, nails or other types of shrapnel, Johnson said.
“On the outside — it is hard to tell what his motivation was — but they were covered in tape … and cloth and hardened by glue,” Johnson said.
“Whether that is to contain the [primer] so the device will fail at a higher pressure instead of [breaking] down early, or if they were meant to be camouflaged, I am not sure.”
The bomb squad “was able to safely extract those and take those out to a secure location where they were able to use one of their robots to disassemble it at a safe distance,” Johnson said.
“When they cut through the two devices they found, they were indeed live devices. Their investigation is still ongoing as far as analysis.”
The presence of explosives posed a serious risk to Pharr’s roommates, Johnson said.
“He was a house guest, and so in the house, there was a woman with her two kiddos and there was a male in the house as well,” he said.
“The tenants had no idea he had pipe bombs in this room.”
State Patrol troopers searched the home where Pharr was living after he was taken into custody without incident at about 8:30 p.m. July 29, Powless said.
The arrest stemmed from information received that indicated Pharr — who has a felony conviction out of California — was in unlawful possession of firearms, Powless said.
The tip was made by someone acquainted with Pharr, Powless said.
The information also indicated Pharr was making homemade explosives, Powless said.
“Allegedly, he had made some statement to one of the witnesses that we talked to that related to going out by suicide by cop,” Powless said.
“Whether or not that was an active plan, I am not sure.”
Further investigation developed probable cause for Pharr’s arrest, as well as for a search warrant for the residence in which he had been staying, Powless said.
Officers arrested Pharr after he was seen walking in the area of Eighth and Lincoln streets.
Based on the information regarding Pharr’s possession of a homemade explosive device, the State Patrol Explosives Unit was requested, Powless said.
Once the residence was examined and secured by the explosives unit, officers and detectives searched the residence and located multiple firearms, as well as deconstructed fireworks and the two pipe bombs, Powless said.
Investigation into the ownership and origin of the firearms is underway.
Features Editor Chris McDaniel can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or at [email protected].