SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A veteran will spend 20 days being evaluated at a state hospital, after police said several pipe bombs were found in his truck in West Springfield, Monday afternoon. His home in Russell was also searched by state troopers overnight.
West Springfield Police Chief Ronald Campurciani told 22News that four pipe bombs were found in a truck driven by Robert S. Decoteau, III. 22News was there as Massachusetts State Police and explosive experts secured and neutralized those bombs Monday evening.
Campurciani said the incident all started on Route 5 in West Springfield, when the 30 year-old Decoteau allegedly led West Springfield Police on a chase, waving pipe bombs out of his window.
“He was holding the pipe bombs out the window, so we were concerned, obviously, that this could’ve been much worse,” Campurciani said. “If he started lighting these and dropping these all over the place, Route 5 would have obviously been a war zone.”
Campurciani said Decoteau eventually slowed down and stopped his car, leading to a standoff that closed a section of Route 5 for hours. Decoteau’s wife spoke to him over the phone during that standoff, ultimately convincing him to leave his pickup truck.
- West Springfield Police Chief: Pipe bomb suspect suffering from PTSD
- Police found 4 pipe bombs in truck on Route 5
- Photos: Bomb Threat West Springfield
- Route 5 bomb threat impacted businesses in West Springfield
Our 22News cameras were rolling as police arrested Decoteau. He was then taken to the hospital.
David Procopio, spokesperson for the Massachusetts State Police, told 22News an additional pipe bomb was found at Decoteau’s Russell home. He said, “The pipe was rigged up next to ignitable liquids, so that it would have caused the liquids to explode as well if it was ignited. Our bomb squad removed the pipe and the ignitable liquids from the home and rendered them safe.”
He noted that all five explosive devices had fuses, which had to have been lit before they could ignite.
Decoteau is charged with the follow:
- Threat to bomb or hijack (2 counts)
- Possession of explosives (4 counts)
Decoteau’s attorney waived his client’s presence for his arraignment at Springfield District Court on Tuesday. He said Dr. Amber Robinson Green, a licensed psychologist, said the defendant has signs of mental illness. The judge ordered that Decoteau be committed to Bridgewater State Hospital for the next 20 days.
His next hearing is scheduled for May 19th.