North Carolina man arrested after explosions near county building, veterans post

Published 3:46 pm Wednesday, March 17, 2021

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By Tom Foreman Jr., Associated Press

A North Carolina man has been arrested days after explosive devices were detonated near a county building and a veterans post, causing “superficial damage,” according to police. An unexploded device had also been found near a Baptist church while worshipers were inside last weekend.

Brevard police said in a news release that officers arrested Terry Lee Barham, 64, on Tuesday.

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Authorities said a search warrant was issued for Barham’s home, and officers found material used to make incendiary devices such as those found on Sunday on the campus of First Baptist Church of Brevard, the nearby Transylvania County Community Services building and an American Legion lodge.

All of the devices except for the one at the church had already been detonated at the time of their discovery, a detail that authorities did not initially release Sunday when they evacuated local businesses. Police have not said where exactly the devices were placed, nor how many there were. There were no injuries reported.

Deputy Chief Tom Jordan said he couldn’t discuss what led law enforcement officials to Barham or exactly what officers found when they searched Barham’s home, but he said there is no longer a threat to the mountainous western North Carolina town 35 miles (56 kilometers) southwest of Asheville.

“We are confident that all devices have been accounted for and the person responsible is being held accountable through the court system.” Jordan said. “But, obviously, everyone should remain vigilant as we do.”

Jordan said the investigation will continue “to make sure that there’s nothing else that would lead us down another path.”

Barham was charged with possession of a weapon of mass destruction, transportation of a weapon of mass destruction, manufacturing a weapon of mass destruction, malicious damage to a government building, attempted malicious damage to a church, attempted malicious damage to an occupied building and three counts of terrorism. The occupied building charge refers specifically to the church, which was conducting services and had to be evacuated when the device was discovered.

Barham is being held in the Transylvania County jail under a secured bond of $280,000. He is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday and has not been assigned an attorney.