Police Search For Gun in Homeless Man’s Pipe Bomb Case
Rogers Police arrested Eric McKim Saturday (Sept. 7) after officers say they found a pipe bomb in his minivan.
It started as a traffic collision that turned into a gunshot call led to the Bentonville Bomb Squad diffusing an explosive device Saturday in Rogers, police say.
The Bentonville Bomb Squad was called Saturday to Hudson Rd. and 2nd Street after Rogers Police officers responded to an accident between a minivan and a car at 8:41 a.m.
One eyewitness said a Ford Escort t-boned the blue minivan, which was pulling out of the McDonalds. According to eyewitnesses, the minivan driver ran into the woods just north of the accident and shot himself in the hand with a hand gun.
“He went behind the McDonalds and he was running,” said Marcus Pratt, who visited the gas station. “He said he had a bomb or something like that and he shot himself in the hand.”
“We didn`t find the gun on him so at that point the assumption was that he threw it somewhere in the field, so we called our canine unit out, our dog sniffed the area, we also got out different metal detectors to look for the weapon, but were never able to recover the weapon,” said Keith Foster, Public Information Officer for Rogers Police Department.
McKim was taken to Northwest Medical in Bentonville.
The bomb squad deployed its robot and confirmed it was an explosive. Around noon, they diffused it.
McKim’s family told police that he lived in his mini-van and there could be an explosive in the there which prompted authorities to search it, according to Foster.
“This is coming from his family members saying he did have a history of making explosive devices, his brother said he had seen him with some type of explosive device possibly have blown it up the previous day,” said Foster.
The pipe bomb was composed of black powder, used in muzzle loaders, according to the probable cause report.
Black powder which can be used for making pipe bombs or other similar devices, it is one of the easiest, readily available substances that people commonly use to build devices,” said Sgt. Russell Hinds, Bentonville Bomb Squad Commander.
Officers blocked Hudson Road between 2nd and 8th street for more than three hours. Officers evacuated nearby businesses including the Sonic.
“It does have the potential to cause a lot of damage in mass quantities depending on how it is used and how it’s initiated, smaller amounts can serious physical injury, if not death,” said Hinds.
“We had a cop come up here and tell us we needed to evacuate because they had a bomb threat and they didn’t know if it was serious or not,” said Michelle Reif, eyewitness.
“It just kind of makes you think about life a little bit different,” said Amber Landis, eyewitness. “Had they not known about it and not evacuated us, what could have happened?”
“They are definitely our heroes today for sure,” Landis said.
The driver of the minivan was arrested by the Rogers Police Department for several warrants. Additional charges are pending and police aren’t releasing the suspect’s name.
McKIm faces multiple charges including, terroristic threatening and criminal possession of explosives.