Po­lice trig­ger ‘booby trap’ in va­cant apart­ment

St. Thomas Times-Journal - - FRONT PAGE - LAURA BROADLEY

Three but­ter knives were sent fly­ing to­wards a St. Thomas po­lice of­fi­cer when he opened a va­cant apart­ment door on Mon­day and trig­gered a booby trap.

“It wasn’t a so­phis­ti­cated set up by any means. But it def­i­nitely had the in­tent to harm some­one, who­ever opened that door,” said Const. Tanya Calvert. “With­out re­veal­ing the ac­tual setup be­cause I don’t want it to be­come and ed­u­ca­tional piece for any­one on how to set up a great knife booby trap. Ba­si­cally they had jarred the knives in a way that when the door opened they would be re­leased with sub­stan­tial ve­loc­ity.”

At about 8 a.m. an of­fi­cer was called to an apart­ment be­cause the land­lord be­lieved a for­mer ten­ant was tres­pass­ing there. The land­lord un­locked the door but the of­fi­cer was un­able to open it as it was bar­ri­caded.

The of­fi­cer used force and when the door was opened it trig­gered a “booby trap” that sent the knives fly­ing to­wards him. A knife hit the of­fi­cer in the chest, an­other hit him on the hand and the third landed on the floor, but he re­mained un­hurt.

The of­fi­cer used his train­ing to pre­vent in­jury to him­self and the land­lord.

“When you open a door with force the first thing you do is back out,” Calvert said. “Should some­one else have opened that door who wouldn’t put those prac­tices in place may have walked right into get­ting a knife in the eye or some­thing more se­ri­ous.”

The in­ci­dent is still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion by po­lice.

“The apart­ment was sup­posed to be va­cant. The land­lord, dur­ing the in­ci­dent, be­lieved that a for­mer ten­ant who had al­ready been evicted was tres­pass­ing there. How­ever, there was po­ten­tial for oth­ers to be in the apart­ment as well,” Calvert said.

There were no other booby traps in the apart­ment that po­lice could find, and the in­tended tar­get of the booby trap is un­known.

“I can’t say that it was in­tended for po­lice be­cause any­one could have gone through that door,” Calvert said.

Calvert was un­able to say what the charges would be for some­thing of this na­ture be­cause it’s still be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by the of­fi­cer who was on the scene and po­lice are still look­ing for sus­pects.

“There’s still many pieces to put to­gether be­cause the res­i­dence was sup­posed to be va­cant,” Calvert said.

Calvert said she doesn’t know of a time when an of­fi­cer has trig­gered a booby trap be­fore but that of­fi­cers are trained to have a height­ened sense of aware­ness of their sur­round­ings.

“We’re al­ways on guard,” Calvert said.

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