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Pipe bomb and loaded gun found at Sacramento elementary school, deputies say

Rosalio Ahumada, The Sacramento Bee on

Published in News & Features

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Authorities on Tuesday found a pipe bomb and a loaded homemade gun near the front office of Baker Elementary School in south Sacramento, sheriff's officials said.

The pipe bomb and the homemade gun, also known as a "zip gun," were found on the sidewalk just outside the front office Tuesday morning, before children students arrived on campus, said Sgt. Rodney Grassmann, a Sacramento County sheriff's spokesman.

"It was a real bomb and a real zip gun," Grassmann said. "They were both loaded and ready to go."

He said the metal pipe with a fuse was found with metal shrapnel, gasoline and fireworks with gun powder inside, and the gun was loaded with a 12-gauge round. Grassmann said the bomb and the gun had been left there in plain sight directly in the path the students would use when arriving on campus.

Nearly 50 students go to the campus to participate in distance learning, Grassmann said. Staffers from the Boys and Girls Club work with these students at the school along Laurine Way, just south of Fruitridge Road.

A Boys and Girls Club staffer spotted the bomb and the gun about 8:20 a.m. Tuesday. The principal called authorities and was on campus to turn away students before they entered the school, said Tara Gallegos, a Sacramento City Unified School District spokeswoman.

Gallegos said the school's students attend one the 13 learning hubs for children having difficulty engaging in distance learning at home. These could include students who have parents who are essential workers, who are English-language learners, who are experiencing homelessness or who have special needs.

The learning hub at Baker Elementary is held in classrooms. Gallegos said the students receive temperature screenings and face coverings, hand hygiene and physical distance are required for all students and staff.


Grassmann said the distance learning on campus was immediately canceled, before the students arrived at the school. She said the pipe bomb and the gun were found near an auxiliary campus entrance.

At 9:17 a.m., the sheriff's bomb squad arrived at the school to determine whether the suspicious device found was explosive. The bomb squad later retrieved the pipe bomb and safely destroyed it.

Later, a sheriff's patrol sergeant and the school's principal walked through the campus to make sure there were no other suspicious devices or weapons on campus, Grassmann said. That was followed by a sheriff's K9 trained to search for explosives who went through the campus. Nothing else was found. No injuries were reported.

Gallegos said the school remained closed Tuesday and will reopen Wednesday for the learning hub on campus.

Investigators on Tuesday afternoon did not have any suspect description, but the incident remains an active investigation as authorities work to determine who left the pipe bomb and the gun.

The Sheriff's Office asked anyone with information about this incident to call deputies at (916) 874-5115.

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