‘Person of interest’ named in Tarpon Springs home explosion, residents evacuated

Two adults and a 2-year-old child were home at the time of the explosion in the back yard.

Tarpon Spring Police officials won't say what the device was made of.

Tarpon Springs police have evacuated Stonefence Way after finding additional explosives. Earlier Monday, an explosive was detonated in a resident’s backyard. Police say they have an 85-year-old neighbor in custody as a “person of interest” in connection with the explosion. When detectives arrived at 1014 Stonefence Way to execute a search warrant, they found more “military style explosive devices,” police said. They found anti-personnel mines, a shot gun and a hand grenade, in addition to other items.

Some residents have been evacuated. The Tampa Regional Bomb Squad is returning to the scene.

Police say they received numerous calls from area residents around 12:19 a.m. saying a “loud bang” was heard at 1016 Stonefence Way. Officers say the explosion blew out windows of the home. Two adults and a 2-year-old child were inside at the time.

At around 12:18 Monday morning, Isabel Rodriguez and her daughter Naomi say they were rudely awakened. Rodriguez said, “My daughter was asleep, I was asleep, and we just heard this boom, like loud glass shatter everywhere.” An explosive device detonated in the backyard, shattering a window and leaving scars on the house. Rodriguez’s mother had just left the backroom prior to the boom. “I was scared last night, I was almost in tears,” said Rodriguez. “If my mom would’ve stayed there a couple of seconds later, a lot worse could have happened.”

Police soon arrested their neighbor, 85-year-old William Vincent Metz. He’s considered a person of interest, and was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Metz was also charged with seven other counts related to the items found in his residence.

Tarpon Springs Police Sgt. Edward Miller said, “Right now we’re not revealing what it was, we’re still investigating that, and we’ll continue to conduct the investigation to see if there are any further items in the [Metz’s] house.” Rodriguez says she has lived in the neighborhood for 11 years.  She added, “Metz has been a kind neighbor.  Never been any problems,” said Rodriguez.

Police have not released a motive, and they don’t know yet why this family would’ve been targeted. But they do say that no one else in the neighborhood is in danger. Detectives spent the day investigating William Metz’s house. Investigators also recovered fragments from the explosive device to determine what exactly it was.

For now Metz is in custody at the Pinellas county jail. Tarpon Springs police, detectives, Pinellas Sheriff’s Office Forensics and the Tampa Regional Bomb Squad responded to the scene. Stay with WFLA.com for updates.


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