Criminal complaint charges have been filed against D Ray East, the homeowner who blew off most of his left hand in his Chaparral Drive home two weeks ago.
East has been charged with one count of possession of a destructive device, a misdemeanor.
The criminal complaint filed by the Shasta County District Attorney’s office states East unlawfully possessed an aluminum pipe containing mercury fulminate.
The documents bring to light new information about the how the initial explosion occurred and the days-long investigation that followed.
At about 4:10 p.m. Thursday, Feb 6th, D Ray Easts’ wife, Diane East, was outside their Chaparral Drive home when she heard an explosion from inside the house.
In the criminal complaint documents, it says Diane told investigators she went inside the master bedroom, saw a fire and her husband on the floor – screaming.
Diane said she put the flames out, then called for help.
When paramedics and Shasta County deputies responded, Diane told a deputy on-scene that her husband was attempting to manufacture rocket fuel.
Diane stated East recently showed her an online video of people launching small rockets and her husband has an interest in manufacturing small rockets. Diane described them as “similar to roman candle fireworks.”
Diane also told the deputy on-scene, just after the blast, the names of some chemicals she knew were present inside their home, including: potassium chlorate, potassium nitrate, copper sulfate and sugar.
Mrs. East also stated there were other chemicals inside the home that were unknown to her.
The deputy Diane told this information to then ordered an evacuation of the home, because of “inherent danger and risk to public safety”.
As D Ray East was being taken away in an ambulance for his injuries, which included his left hand being almost completely blown off and loss of sight in one eye, deputies stumbled upon containers on the back porch, containing green-blue colored liquids – with wires protruding from the containers.
That deputy then deemed all emergency personnel’s safety at risk.
Law enforcement then went to question East at the hospital, but he was medically unable to answer questions.
A paramedic who was riding with East in the ambulance en-route to the hospital later told detectives East told her he was “making an explosive device.”
Around 11:15 p.m. Thursday night, about 6 hours after the blast happened, a Shasta County judge signed a search warrant for the home on 9021 Chaparral Drive.
A perimeter was set up around the home.
The following morning, Feb 7th, the Shasta County Sheriff’s office began their search of the property.
Around that same time, East reached out to law enforcement from his hospital bed, wanting to talk about the investigation.
East told detectives he was trying to make rocket fuel for a small rocket he planned to build and launch in Nevada.
East also told detectives he was manufacturing mercury fulminate, and had placed an unknown amount inside an aluminum pipe he was holding when the explosion occurred. East said he had planned on using a hair dryer to dry the mercury fulminate, but had accidentally picked up a heat gun, which emits much hotter air. That heat caused the mercury fulminate to detonate, causing the injuries to his left hand.
At his hospital bedside, East then told detectives specific chemicals inside his home, including: potassium chloride, potassium chlorate, nitric acid, Ethel and Methyl alcohol, sodium chlorate and ammonia nitrate.
East also told investigators there were additional items inside including primers, smokeless gunpowder, black powder and hobby fuse. East told detectives he manufactured five or six blasting caps from magnesium fulminate, which were placed in 2-inch aluminum and carbon arrow shafts. Those homemade blasting caps were then stored in a small handgun safe.
As for the green-blue colored liquids found on the porch, East told detectives those contained a mixture of water and potassium chloride. East stated he was manufacturing potassium chlorate by placing low current electrical wires into the liquid containers.
East denied having any other explosive materials inside his home.
Friday, Feb 7th, while checking the outside of the home, a Shasta County sergeant found an empty box of Hexamine tablets at the top of a trash can. The sergeant stated that box of empty Hexamine tablets was a significant find because they are “commonly associated with the construction of homemade explosive material.”
The same day, a Shasta County sergeant and an FBI agent entered East’s home.
While inside the master bedroom, where the explosion occurred, the pair spotted four plastic containers labeled HMTD. The sergeant recognized the acronym HMTD as Hexamethlene Triperoxide Dianine, which the sergeant knew from his training as a “volatile high explosive.”
The sergeant and FBI agent immediately evacuated the building and deemed the home unsafe to enter because of the suspected presence of explosives.
That’s when the 1,000-foot evacuation zone surrounding the home was initiated, because of the “inherent danger of the explosives.”
KRCR News Channel 7 spoke with East’s attorney, Jeffery Stotter, about the charge filed against his client. When asked his thought on the criminal complaint, Stotter has this to say, “This is consistent with our discussions with the District Attorney's office.”
As for the pending misdemeanor charge, Stotter said he and his client intend on entering a no contest plea.
“That is specifically a compromise plea and it's a compromise charge. He's not admitting guilt. But under all of the circumstances, I think it is a fair resolution of the matter, as does Mr. East, as does the District Attorney's office,” said Stotter.
A court date for East has not yet been set.