An Alabama couple planted a fake bomb outside a suburban elementary school with the intention to shoot officers who would come to the scene, or rob a bank, police said Wednesday.
Zachary Edwards, 35, and Raphel Dilligard, 34, of Birmingham face charges that include making terrorist threats, rendering a false alarm and possessing a hoax destructive device, said police Capt. Jeff Bridges of Trussville, Alabama.
Authorities said it contained gunpowder, modeling clay and a timer, but no detonator. Experts examined the device and then detonated it at the scene.
“It looked real enough that it concerned us,” Bridges said in an interview.
Authorities determined that a stopwatch used as a timer in the fake bomb was sold at Walmart and they began searching stores where it may have been purchased. That search led to video surveillance images of Dilligard and, in turn, Edwards.
The man told police he was part of the Black Panthers and the Black Mafia, Bridges said, but it was unclear whether he was actually affiliated with any group.