Montana News

Nov 1, 2012 8:39 PM by Beth Beechie

VA pipe-bomb suspect facing attempted deliberate homicide charges in Montana

Laurence Alan Stewart II, arrested on Thursday near Belt east of Great Falls as a fugitive from justice in connection with several pipe-bomb explosions in Virginia, is now facing felony charges in Cascade County.

Stewart will be charged with three counts of attempted deliberate homicide, after allegedly throwing three pipe bombs from his car as he lead authorities on the chase; the pipe bombs detonated near patrol cars with deputies in them.

He will also be charged with one count of felony criminal endangerment after one pipe bomb detonated near a civilian's car during the chase.

Authorities tell us that as of 5:30 p.m., the area near Belt where Stewart was captured is currently "contained" by officials.

They say that they not believe there is any danger to the public outside of the containment area, and the area will remain secured from public access until the investigation is complete.

(Thursday, 1:59 pm) Laurence Alan Stewart II, wanted in Virginia on charges including attempted murder, was arrested in Cascade County near Belt on Thursday after leading several law enforcement agencies on a chase.

Stewart is wanted in Stafford County, Virginia, for two counts of attempted capital murder, two counts of burning or destroying a dwelling, and two counts of manufacturing an explosive device in connection with a pipe bomb incident on October 30 in Virginia.

Stewart was also wanted in Virginia for indecent exposure, obscene sexual display, and violation of a protective order; he reportedly detonated pipe bombs at the homes of his ex-girlfriend and two officers who were investigating the indecent exposure charge against him.

Details of the chase and apprehension were released by the the Cascade County Sheriff's Office just before 2 p.m. on Thursday.

Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to assist the Montana Highway Patrol in the pursuit of a stolen car in Judith Basin County that was headed toward Cascade County. The initial report stated that the driver of the stolen vehicle, Stewart, was throwing what appeared to be pipe bombs out of his vehicle at the pursuing vehicles.

The tires on Stewart's vehicle tires were damaged with stop sticks east of Armington Junction, but Stewart was able to continue toward Belt and was eventually forced into the ditch by a Sheriff's patrol car.

At that point, Stewart got out of the car and ran, and was reportedly armed with a handgun; officers chased him and eventually captured and arrested him.

The case has now been taken over by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

A press release from the Sheriff's Office states that the chase and apprehension included the Judith Basin County Sheriff's Office, Montana Highway Patrol, Great Falls Police, Customs & Border Patrol, Malmstrom AFB Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit, US Marshals, the FBI, and the ATF.

No serious injuries were sustained by any of the responders or Stewart, although one Sheriff's Deputy sustained minor injuries, including scratches and pulled muscles, following the foot chase of Stewart.

Belt Fire, Belt Ambulance, Great Falls Emergency Services, and Mercy Flight were also on stand-by.

We will update you as we learn more.

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