Arrest in Yreka nets bombs, guns, ammo

A Sacramento man armed with a homemade bomb, a handgun and wearing a tactical vest with rounds of ammunition scuffled with Yreka police Tuesday before being arrested and jailed on $2 million bail.

Michael Anthony Solano, 54, was arrested outside the Siskiyou County Probation Department on charges of possession and transportation of a destructive device, resisting arrest, attempting to take an officer's firearm and assault of an officer with a firearm.

In a search of Solano and his car, officers found a total of 17 homemade bombs, 70 loaded magazines, more than 4,000 rounds of ammunition, a handgun that had been reported stolen, two assault weapons, three other weapons, including one with a silencer, surveillance equipment, a tactical vest for carrying ammo and other equipment, and clothing with face masks.

"This guy was going to rain war on Yreka," Yreka Police Chief Brian Bowles said in a prepared statement.

Solano had been arrested outside the probation office with a pipe bomb on July 18, was released on bail a few days later, and was due to appear in court Tuesday, but didn't show up. The bail bondsman who had posted his bail, Brett Duncan, spotted him sitting outside the probation office, behaving strangely at about 4:25 p.m. Tuesday and called police, Bowles said.

When officers contacted Solano, he pulled out a gun and officers leaped to stop him.

As Solano and officers struggled over control of the gun, Duncan and another Yreka resident, Darrell Bourne, joined in to help police. Duncan wrested away the weapon, but then Solano tried to grab an officer's holstered gun and a Taser one officer was using, Bowles said.

Ultimately Solano was handcuffed, but he continued to fight and told police he had a bomb in his boot. Officers from the California Highway Patrol and the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Department helped evacuate the area near the intersection of Annie and State streets downtown not far from the freeway, and evaluate the bomb.

Officers took the bomb and Solano's boot, then found additional bombs in his car and expanded the evacuation area to protect people, police said.

Siskiyou County Sheriff's Detective Ben Grossman, who has completed explosives training provided by the FBI and the Army, said the 17 pipe bombs ranged in size from 18 inches to 6 inches long and were all about — inches in diameter.

Some were encased in concrete filled with metal fragments and others were designed to have a small bomb inside a larger one, he said in a press release Tuesday. He described the bombs as "extremely powerful and sensitive" and said the chemicals involved were more sophisticated than the device linked to Solano in July.

The sheriff's department bomb squad loaded the bombs into a bomb disposal trailer and took them to the Siskiyou County Airport. The county's public works department dug a 4-foot-deep pit, put in the bombs and used plastic explosives to destroy the devices.

Bowles said it's not clear to detectives yet why Solano is apparently on probation in Siskiyou County or what his past criminal record is. Investigators continue to work on the case and additional charges could be filed against Solano.

The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have been notified of the case, Bowles said.

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