A traffic stop in Marina del Rey led police to a stash of explosive devices at a suspect's apartment near Culver City today, prompting evacuations and a traffic mess on the Westside.
Overland Avenue between Venice and Washington boulevards was shut down this afternoon and likely would be “for hours” as a bomb squad went through the residence on the Palms side of the street in the 3800 block of Overland, police told us:
It all started about 10:20 p.m. Tuesday night when LAPD Pacific Division officers on patrol in or near Marina del Rey made a traffic stop and noticed a suspicious liquid inside the suspect's car, Officer Diana Figueroa told the Weekly.
At that point a bomb squad was called out and it discovered that the liquid was indeed “suspicious,” she said. Not only that, but cops contend there were a firearm and narcotics in the vehicle.
That, then, led authorities to want to check out the guy's house, an apartment in that 3800 block of Overland, she said, where other explosive devices were found, including what reports indicate are pipe bombs.
The L.A. Fire Department stated the exact address of the building is 3848 Overland.
View Overland Evacuations in a larger map
The early-morning bomb squad operation, which started about 6:30 a.m., led authorities to evacuate the suspect's building as well as three more next to it, Figueroa said.
LAPD Sgt. Frank Preciado told reporters today that police believe the guy, who had yet to be ID'd, was a “lone wolf” and that the operation did not constitute a terrorism investigation.
Evacuees were told they could go to a Red Cross-run shelter at at the Veterans Auditorium at 4117 Overland Ave. in Culver City, Figueroa said.
Residents who were evacuated were encouraged to call 310-253-6890 for help, according to LAFD.
Other intersections that were blocked off this afternoon included Overland and Culver Boulevard in Culver City, Girard and Washington and Motor Avenue and Washington, Figueroa said.
The suspect was in custody but it wasn't clear if he had been booked.
[Update at 6 p.m.]: A bomb squad was expected to be at the scene until 9 p.m., when evacuations might — might — be lifted, an officer told us. Until then it's probably wise to continue to avoid the area (see our map, above).
[Update at 11:10 p.m.]: Shortly before 9, police said, residents were allowed back in their apartments.
The sound of small explosions was heard as bomb squad personnel detonated 17 pipe bombs found in the suspect's residence, according to police and news reports.
That man was identified as Robert Wilson, 29, according to City News Service.
According to sheriff's inmate data, a Robert Colt Wilson was arrested by LAPD Pacific Division officers at 10:50 last night and was booked on suspicion of a felony crime at 12:32 p.m. today.
He was being held in lieu of $500,000 bail.