Explosive evacuates high school

  • Follow Metro

Police arrested an 18-year-old Westside High School senior Wednesday after a homemade explosive device was discovered in his bookbag.

Raymond Charles Smalley: 18-year-old senior was arrested after the device was found in his bookbag at Westside High School.  Special
Special
Raymond Charles Smalley: 18-year-old senior was arrested after the device was found in his bookbag at Westside High School.

After hours of interviews and testing of the device, Richmond County authorities charged Raymond Charles Smalley, 18, of the 2600 block of Smith Creek Road, with possession of an explosive or destructive device with intent to kill, injure or intimidate individuals or destroy public buildings, possession of a weapon on school property and carrying a concealed weapon.

The device - a can of waterproofer with a fuse inserted in the top - was found when school Principal Tim Spivey searched Mr. Smalley's bookbag.

The discovery prompted officials to evacuate the school shortly before 8:30 a.m. Students and faculty waited in the nearby Redwing Rollerway parking lot as bomb squad personnel searched the rest of the school.

Mr. Smalley's bookbag was searched after a teacher said she saw him put a portable video game system into it. School system policy forbids video game systems on campus.

Maj. Ken Autry said investigators spent the afternoon interviewing the friends and family of Mr. Smalley to "take a step beyond" the student's original statement.

He said the young man claimed he found the bottle while cleaning up his house and brought it to detonate once class was out.

The device was later examined by the bomb squad, which said it could have detonated, according to a statement released by the sheriff's office.

"The bomb techs looked at it and said it was capable of exploding because it only had to be lit, and I understand that he had a lighter in his pocket," Maj. Autry said.

"Obviously the situation has been diffused but we do have to look deeper into this incident."

He said that it does not appear that anyone knew Mr. Smalley was carrying the device nor was anyone else involved.

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (56) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
WorriedAboutOurFuture
16
Points
WorriedAboutOurFuture 05/24/07 - 02:25 pm
0
0
The thing that the "lock him

The thing that the "lock him up and throw away the key" gang don't seem to be thinking about is that this kid told police he wanted to set it off AFTER school and wasn't thinking about hurting anyone. There's no question that it was abyssmally stupid, especially of a high school senior in today's climate of zero tolerance, but I remember several college classmates long ago who did exactly the same kind of thing and who were just as stupid yet never got more than a stern warning to shape up. You really should go back and read the article by the long-time Glenn Hill High teacher. We used to go to school with our pocket knives and hunting knives and it was no big deal at all. Not every family has changed all that much from those days, and they are harmless, normal people.

WorriedAboutOurFuture
16
Points
WorriedAboutOurFuture 05/24/07 - 03:15 pm
0
0
At Westside today, students

At Westside today, students were escorted by their teachers to the cafeteria to pick up sack lunches, and then they went back to their classrooms to eat. They were not allowed to talk in transit. Looks like this incident really shook people up in a big way.

WorriedAboutOurFuture
16
Points
WorriedAboutOurFuture 05/24/07 - 03:18 pm
0
0
You really gotta love

You really gotta love Richmond County. Where else in the entire universe do you get bomb threat after threat after threat but not a single actual bomb is discovered, only to turn around a find a real, live bomb when there may not have been any real threat.

irripertus
0
Points
irripertus 05/24/07 - 03:49 pm
0
0
i go to westside and he was

i go to westside and he was really just stupid kinda.....he made lame jokes...and he wouldn't have lit it...he would have pulled it on for attention...he's just troubled and one of those people who thinks he's cool but not...i've known him since 5th grade he lives right round the corner and by the way we ate sack lunches because f exams it had nothing to do with ray

ForHim
2
Points
ForHim 05/24/07 - 04:00 pm
0
0
WAOF - I understand how

WAOF - I understand how someone would want to give him a break. However, anyone who takes a bomb to school could have told the police anything they wanted. That doesn't mean it's true. But even if it was true, if you cut him some slack, you would have to cut others slack who really mean harm who got caught and told police that it was just a prank and they meant no harm. How can you differentiate when you can't get inside a person's mind? It's not something you can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt. I have known people who did some really outrageous things that I never thought they would do ... people who were close to me and I thought I knew them so well. Laws should apply to all people ... not just some.

shygirlj
0
Points
shygirlj 05/24/07 - 04:07 pm
0
0
hear hear, don1. people lie.

hear hear, don1. people lie. stupid people, too. and ignorance of the law is no excuse. it's no excuse for anyone else -- why should it be for him? sometimes we have to live with negative consequences for actions we didn't think through -- that's life. and there is no age requirement for having to pay consequences. what about the 16 yr old that died, earlier this week, after sneaking out of the house and having an accident? those were the consequences he didn't get to shake. it's unfortunate ths boy made such a series of bad decisions, but no one else should have to pay the price for that...

ShakingMyHeadInShame
2
Points
ShakingMyHeadInShame 05/24/07 - 04:42 pm
0
0
Why is there concern about

Why is there concern about this incident possibly ruining HIS life? What about the lives he could have possibly destroyed? The use of the word STUPID, in this instance, does not apply. These days, because of the sometimes nonchalant and forgiving attitude of our society (where blame is placed on the parents, the system, mental health, etc.), young adults, kids, and even older adults believe they can get away with anything.

Tymeshia
0
Points
Tymeshia 05/24/07 - 04:59 pm
0
0
Ray has his on personality I

Ray has his on personality I know that some people may think that somtimes he's a little out there but he was a cool kid to me and I never thought that one day this would happen but everything happens fo a reason it is what is I hope he didnt try to hurt anyone cause that would have been crazy But thats how I feel about the sistuation

WorriedAboutOurFuture
16
Points
WorriedAboutOurFuture 05/24/07 - 05:39 pm
0
0
I guess I just misinterpreted

I guess I just misinterpreted the Westside lunch thing. Never knew that to happen during exams before though. As far as cutting Ray slack, I'm definitely not advocating he not be charged with exactly the crimes he committed. I guess I just think that he may deserve and benefit more from boot camp than years in a penitentiary. I think that about most young (as in under 23), first offenders who don't actually commit murder. I don't expect that all will agree with that, but it's what I'd rather see happen to them than locking them up with the adult population of criminals. A lot of hard labor, education and rehabilitation at that time in their lives might turn around even some of the rougher ones, but the penitentiary is nothing but an exercise in survival and humilation for young people.

waynezeng
0
Points
waynezeng 05/24/07 - 06:48 pm
0
0
Hmmm. Dumb thing to do...

Hmmm. Dumb thing to do...

voluptuously_auburn1
0
Points
voluptuously_auburn1 05/24/07 - 06:57 pm
0
0
My daughter attends Westside

My daughter attends Westside and she said several of the kids who know this "idiot" are planning to jump him and whoop his behind for all the drama he caused on all the kids.
As a result of this incident, exams were delayed, giving the kids less time to take their scheduled exams, and in one class the exam was postponed until the next day and added on top of the exam schedule ... break time between exams was cut short, and lunch was a concoction of peanut butter, honey and graham cracker cookies. I can say the kids at Westside not involved with this were highly upset/mad.

tengrl62
0
Points
tengrl62 05/24/07 - 06:59 pm
0
0
This is a serious cry for

This is a serious cry for help. School authorities should take this seriously as should the legal system.

TLO
0
Points
TLO 05/24/07 - 08:04 pm
0
0
i knew Ray and he didnt seem

i knew Ray and he didnt seem like the kinda person that would do this and i couldnt beileve it when i saw him get in the cop car. when they told us to evacuate the school i thought that it was just another prank i didnt actually think that it was real. but i think that if Ray was actually goin to use the bomb then it was because people were always picking on him and because he just snapped but i just hope that Ray does not get hurtin jail and that the boot camp idea might be good. i go to westside and it is crazy there now we had 3 exams today and we almost didnt have enough time to finish. but it was really scary yesterday u always think that it would never happen to ur school and then it does.

etay07
0
Points
etay07 05/24/07 - 09:03 pm
0
0
I knew Ray and HE is not any

I knew Ray and HE is not any of the things mentioned but like TLO says he was picked on, laughed at and he was kind. Said Silly things No-One took him serious but Ray did it to himself! He was mentally Crazy and been through alot and Let Demons Attack himself. Now It's Reality and as the member of the Class of 2007 I say Get Better Ray. We Will Move On.

As It Is
2
Points
As It Is 05/24/07 - 11:11 pm
0
0
Harldly anyone seems like the

Harldly anyone seems like the "kind of person that would do something like that" until after they do something. It is ashame that a possible poor decision will effect him so drastically but he should be placed in jail for quite a while. The school did an excellent job and took the extra safety steps immediatly by evacuating the school - GREAT JOB to the teachers, principal, public safety officers, deputies and fire fighters for protecting all of our students. Schools and parents must all do a better job of discussing these matters, discussing pranks, senior pranks, consequenses, etc. for matters such as this as well as "hooking up" with someone even one year your younger. Schools teach a lot but they need assemblies on the basics at times covering these items as well as basic "common sense" information for our future job market seekers.

CantTrustaDumbocrat
0
Points
CantTrustaDumbocrat 05/25/07 - 12:26 am
0
0
The bottom line is this "kid"

The bottom line is this "kid" was an adult and should have known
better. He brought a device to school that could have hurt or killed
others. I don't care if you think he was "not the type" to do this.
Neither was the uni bomber or Ted Bundy but look at them. There is only
one thing to do in this case LOCK HIM UP so he will not be able to hurt
anyone. If he had set that thing off it could have hurt my child or
yours. No excuses for him, charge him as the adult he is and lock him
away for a very long time.

anotherlook
99
Points
anotherlook 05/25/07 - 06:10 am
0
0
I just don't get it! A man

I just don't get it! A man burgled someone's home and was subsequently killed. The amount of outrage posted was astonishing! Moreover, pages of posts were entered because of alleged Pre-K lottery tampering. Now here is a young man (and I do mean MAN) who chose to jeopardize the safety of students, teachers, administrators, staff, wolunteers, and public safety personnel. But because "he didn't look crazy," "was a nice kid," or "only planned to detonate the device after school" and his plan didn't succeed, many feel he shouldn't be punished within the full scope of the law? Have we forgotten? This "man" is old enough to have enlisted in the Armed services? It may not be a popular opinion, but I am absolutely incensed by what appears to be a blatant disregard of the risks to everyone impacted by his egregious act. Maybe some of you don't feel that you have a right to securely live, learn, work, and recreate without threat of violence. Folks, this is no prank! Absolutely, NO ONE should be lightly treated- disturbed or not- when he breaks the law in this way! Nice "kids" don't blow things up! Whether foreign or domestic , a terrorist act is a terrorist act whether you're 18 or 80!

Just the Facts Please
0
Points
Just the Facts Please 05/25/07 - 08:42 am
0
0
Mental Illness is no excuse

Mental Illness is no excuse for any action. Not being responisible for our actions lends a "devil made me do it" attitude. That he had no idea what he was doing or was a silly mixed up kid makes no sense at all. He is an adult capable of rational thought and now is in our legal system. He will be a burden to society and on the public dole for the rest of his natural life. If they excecuted those who break the law endangering others, then our bills would be less supporting these social malcontents. Maybe people would say he had it coming or shake their heads in shame and disgust. It is time for a reckoning in closing up the sepsis that is causing the festering infestation of crime in America. Sometimes you need to cut off the offending limb to save the patient. It is time for such action.

WorriedAboutOurFuture
16
Points
WorriedAboutOurFuture 05/25/07 - 11:21 am
0
0
POINT 1. Although I do not

POINT 1. Although I do not know this particular young man, I do know from my own experiences that virtually every boy does in fact like things that explode. Why else would they like to play war, to make explosion sound effects with their own mouths (better than any girl), and love Chuck so much? They just like that kind of stuff. It's normal.
POINT 2. Even though 18 is the "legal" age, most 18-year-olds rarely are considered mature or particularly ready for adulthood, especially in our culture. They aren't allowed to buy alcohol for 3 more years and it is very unusual for someone younger than 21, more often 25, to gain control of their trust fund, because both require the kind of mature, responsible judgment most people do not possess at 18. Just because the age at which they could vote and also be held accountable for certain things was somewhat arbitrarily lowered back around 1969, it doesn't mean much has changed in how mature an 18-year-old actually is today. They still tend to be largely dependent on their parents, both financially and in providing for their day-to-day welfare. This is why I advocate boot camp for young, esp 1st time offenders who haven't committed murder.

mazar200020002000
0
Points
mazar200020002000 05/26/07 - 02:35 am
0
0
Personally, I've known Ray

Personally, I've known Ray since the eight grade. He had a lot of issues with a lot of people and had every right to be angry about it, even though this incident should had never came about. I hope everything gets settled the way it is supposed to be handled, and just hope he came overcome this big mistake.

Josh G.

anotherlook
99
Points
anotherlook 05/28/07 - 12:58 pm
0
0
This type of sociopathic

This type of sociopathic behavior is not a mistake. Forgetting to set your alarm clock is a mistake. Smalley made a conscious decision to violate the laws of the land and the rules of school conduct in order to express his disdain for the school, its faculty, or this community for whatever maltreatment he received. Yes bullying and marginalization of students is very painful and can be found in every school. And we can and should do better at addressing these serious issues. But just as this should not be tolerated, we also should not tolerate respones like these that place at risk the lives and safety of our loved ones, friends, and coworkers. What impact do you think that it had on the students who had to return into the classrooms and finish their exams? How well would anyone have been able to focus on something as mundane as a test after receiving a threat to life and limb? And how does a teacher who has been devoted to his or her craft make the decision to keep teaching when every day their family could be taking a risk that they might not be coming home tonight. Our focus must be upon addressing the needs of the victim and not discounting the perpetrator's acts.

wowwowwoowo
0
Points
wowwowwoowo 05/29/07 - 09:23 pm
0
0
RAY SMALLEY! You just do not

RAY SMALLEY! You just do not seem like the type of person who would do something so stupid as that. I know that you have had your troubles and tribulations but how could you actually come to this. You put all of our lives at westside at stake. How could you actually do that to people who actually were NICE to you. I understand being mad and angry but dont take it out by trying to kill them or even innocent lives like your friends. We all have our problems and issues but we overcome them. Get a Clue.

irripertus
0
Points
irripertus 05/31/07 - 02:47 pm
0
0
yah he doesn't need jail

yah he doesn't need jail time...just some serious one on one talks with a psychiatrist he has always been weird but definately he wouldn't make it in a jail he'd end up going crazy he's not a harmfulor bad person just a mentally challenged person wanting attention

irripertus
0
Points
irripertus 05/31/07 - 02:47 pm
0
0
yah he doesn't need jail

yah he doesn't need jail time...just some serious one on one talks with a psychiatrist he has always been weird but definately he wouldn't make it in a jail he'd end up going crazy he's not a harmfulor bad person just a mentally challenged person wanting attention

t of i
25
Points
t of i 05/31/07 - 06:45 pm
0
0
It seems of late there has

It seems of late there has been an abundant crop of mentally challenged young people and not so mentally challenged young people making poor decisions. So he says he wasn't planning to hurt anyone. Was his intent to damage property? That's real funny. And I'm sick of the excuse that 18 year olds are not mature enough to make good decisions. Worriedaboutourfuture, your 1969 as an arbitrary year for maturity is incorrect as far as Georgia is concerned. The voting age in Georgia was lowered during the Governor Arnall's term (1943-1947). If you are old enough to fight for our country, you should have a vote. 18 year olds have long been treated as adults as far as the criminal system goes and law in general, ie ability to enter into contracts. Now if you think that needs to be revisited given the behavior of so many of our youth today, then ....

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs