Arvada, CO – An Arvada police officer and a citizen were injured by a homemade chlorine bomb while they were trying to clear a barricade off of a roadway on Saturday night.
The attack occurred near the intersection of Beech Street and West 68th Avenue just after midnight, Arvada Police Chief Link Strate said in a video release.
Arvada Police Officer T. Grahn received a report about the barricade, and arrived to find that street signs had been pulled out of the ground and piled up in the roadway. The suspects also strung plastic wrap across the street and secured it to the signs, The Denver Post reported.
As Officer Grahn approached the barricade, he spotted a plastic bottle lying near the signs.
“Hey, asshole,” a man suddenly yelled, as someone ran away from the scene.
Officer Grahn drew his weapon and began looking around him with his flashlight, just as the male citizen who reported the barricade came over to assist him in clearing the roadway.
As the citizen and the officer were dismantling the obstruction, someone threw a plastic bottle at them.
When it hit the ground, the bottle released a cloud of white gas that Officer Grahn later said smelled of chlorine.
The effects of the “chemical bomb” rendered the officer unconscious, Chief Strate said.
Officer Grahn was rushed to a local hospital, where he was diagnosed with chlorine gas exposure, The Denver Post reported.
The citizen was treated for minor injuries at the scene.
Police located three more chemical bombs during the course of the investigation.
The Arvada Fire Department’s hazmat crew determined that at least one of the bombs was composed of powdered chlorine and brake fluid.
Investigators also located a Walmart receipt in a nearby field, which listed the same items needed to construct the devices.
They used surveillance footage from the store to identify five male suspects, all of whom were arrested within 24 hours of the attack.
Braiden Ulmer, 19, Gavin Dawson, 19, Isaac Koch, 19, Maxwell McCann, 18, and an unnamed juvenile have been charged with suspicion of conspiracy to commit possession, use or removal of explosives or incendiary devices, two counts of use or removal of explosives or incendiary devices, criminal attempt of second-degree assault, and first-degree assault.
They are scheduled to appear in court on Friday.
Officer Grahn, a four-year veteran-of-the-force, has been released from the hospital and is recovering at home, Chief Strate said.
“I am grateful that our officer and the community member were not more seriously injured, although we do not yet know the long-term effects of this attack on them,” he added.
“We know that this attack on one of our officers is not representative of our community,” the chief noted in the video release. “We appreciate the support of our community, and we take their safety and our officers’ safety very seriously.”