Officials safely detonated two of the explosive devices found in a road-rage suspect’s vehicle near the Goldfield courthouse Tuesday.
The suspect was found with a rifle and explosives after shooting at another driver in Tonopah and then driving away, according to Nye County Sheriff Tony DeMeo.
He said the driver of the other car followed the suspect across county lines and called police.
Deputies stopped the suspect’s vehicle about 6:40 a.m. outside the Esmeralda County courthouse on U.S. Highway 95 in Goldfield.They arrested the suspect, searched the vehicle and found the explosives and a rifle, according to the Nevada Highway Patrol.
“We’re getting conflicting stories, but apparently what happened is there was a shot fired from the vehicle at another vehicle. That individual decided to — I wouldn’t say chase down — but did follow them into Esmeralda County, where another shot was fired,” DeMeo said.
At 7:30 a.m., the Esmeralda County Sheriff’s Department began evacuating the surrounding area, including homes, businesses, the courthouse, the county dispatch center and a nearby elementary school, according to Sgt. Dill Ferguson.
The evacuation affected about 100 people.
It was unclear which law enforcement agencies responded to the incident.
According to the Nevada Highway Patrol, a bomb squad from the Metropolitan Police Department arrived on the scene, about 180 miles from Las Vegas, about 11:20 a.m. However, Las Vegas police did not detail the level of their involvement.
Las Vegas Fire Department spokesman Tim Szymanski said that to his knowledge, the Fire Department’s bomb squad was the only bomb unit that responded.
The FBI’s Las Vegas Division also assisted with the scene, FBI spokeswoman Bridget Pappas said.
Officials used robots to approach the explosives and then detonated two of the devices by afternoon.
It was unclear how many explosives were in the vehicle.
The Nevada Department of Transportation rerouted U.S. 95 traffic through side streets in Goldfield, about 27 miles south of Tonopah.
Nevada Highway Patrol assisted local law enforcement with traffic.
The incident remains under investigation by the Esmeralda County Sheriff’s Office.
Reporter Colton Lochhead contributed to this report.Contact reporter Rochel Leah Goldblatt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0264.