Man held without bond after chemical pipe bomb explodes on Putnam County deputy during traffic stop

1 month ago

A man in Putnam County is being held without bond due to not cooperating with investigators after he was charged with possessing an explosive, aggravated battery, trafficking methamphetamine and illegal possession of a gun silencer.

Charles Legault’s pickup truck was pulled over because the attached license plate was not assigned to the vehicle. A chemical pipe bomb exploded on the deputy as he searched the truck.

The deputy was rushed to the hospital and was later released.

Legault is reported to have had two handguns, 20 rounds of ammunition, methamphetamine, and an unregistered gun silencer when he was searched.

Gun silencers are required to be registered with the ATF.

News4JAX Crime and Safety analyst Tom Hackney said there are too many red flags in this case that potentially pose a danger to public safety.

“Why is this guy allegedly carrying a pipe bomb or explosive device? He’s got his suppressor on his body, taken from his pocket. Ammunition, it really makes you wonder; is there a bigger thing going on with him?” Hackney said.

The bomb can be seen on the deputy’s bodycam. The video of the explosion is withheld because the case is under investigation. Detectives said the bomb had chunks of chlorine on one side of the device and a liquid believed to be brake fluid on the other side.

A valve separates the two sides and when it’s turned, the contents mix and cause a poisonous gas before exploding.

Investigators said the deputy may have accidentally moved the valve when touching the device.

The words “safe” and “armed” were later found written on the valve of the bomb.

Although Legault told deputies he was storing the chlorine in the tube to prevent wasting it, Hackney said the words on the valve tell investigators there was criminal intent to cause harm.

“With the way it was constructed, and those words are written in hand on there, it tells me from a law enforcement perspective that’s what it’s there for and this isn’t some accidental way of transporting something,” Hackney said.

He added that given all the red flags that were mentioned, investigators will dig deep into Legault’s life to make sure he wasn’t planning an attack.

“It’s April when this happened. There’s a lot of anniversary dates and in these circles when we talk about explosive devices or potential explosive devices, April anniversary dates mean a whole lot because there is a lot historically that happened in April,” Hackney said.

Two well-known examples of what Hackney is referring to are the Oklahoma City Bombing and the federal raid and fire in Waco, Texas.

Hackney said that the breezy conditions that day may have diluted the poisonous gas, as the deputy could have sustained more severe damage to his respiratory system.

Loading 4 comments...