'The substance emitted a purple haze each time it activated and it sounded like a .22'
HARBOR, Ore. - A high school chemistry teacher helped firefighters figure out how to neutralize a mysterious substance that emitted a purple haze and sounded like a gun shot when touched, the Curry County Sheriff's Office said.
Initial calls to 911 Tuesday indicated "unknown subjects had thrown what appeared to be multiple smoke bombs onto floors and that the substance was continually cracking and popping" at Wild River Pizza in Harbor, the sheriff's office said.
Law enforcement determined someone had spread a chemical on the floor.
The unknown stuff "continued to activate by touch or stepping on it. The substance emitted a purple haze each time it activated and it sounded like a .22 caliber gun shot going off," Sheriff John Ward said.
Firefighters secured the area, and the building was evacuated.
A chemistry teacher from Brookings Harbor High School "determined that the chemical substance could be neutralized by baking soda," the sheriff said. "The Harbor Fire Department cleaned the area and made it safe for re-entry."
Investigators reviewed security video and determined at least 3 suspects were involved.
Brookings Police identified one of the suspects Wednesday as James Snyder, 40, of Harbor.
Deputies contacted Snyder at his home just before noon and placed him under arrest. Detectives obtained a searched warrant for the home and located "what appeared to be chemicals and bomb related items," Ward said. "The Oregon State Police Bomb Squad was contacted and at their request, the residence was vacated until they could arrive."
The bomb squad arrived on scene a few hours later and located what appeared to be a homemade pipe bomb. The device was neutralized.
Deputies booked Snyder into the Curry County Jail on charges of Criminal Mischief I, Criminal Conspiracy II, Criminal Mistreatment I x 2, Possession of Destructive Device, Manufacture of Destructive Device, Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine, Disorderly Conduct I, and multiple counts of Recklessly Endangering.
The sheriff anticipates additional arrests will be made.