VA State Police issue "Blue Alert" for bombing suspect

Laurence Alan Stewart II
Laurence Alan Stewart II

FREDERICKSBURG, VA (WWBT) - The manhunt continues for a bombing suspect who police say is armed with explosives. Laurence Stewart II, 25, is accused of launching home-made pipe bombs into three Virginia homes, trying to kill law enforcement officers in Stafford County and Fredericksburg, and his ex-girlfriend.

Wednesday night, Virginia State Police issued the Commonwealth's first ever Blue Alert. It's basically an Amber Alert, only for a suspect who killed or seriously injured an officer.

Investigators say Stewart launched the makeshift bombs into the homes of the Stafford County deputy sheriff, another detective and his ex-girlfriend, early Tuesday morning. No one was injured, but the homes were damaged. Investigators say shrapnel ricocheted into one bedroom, where thankfully, no one was sleeping that night.

"I can tell you that those bombs were manufactured to kill," said Stafford County Sheriff Charles Jett. "We believe this person is extremely dangerous...We believe he's carrying explosive devices. He's already demonstrated capable of attempted murder. We have no reason to believe he's going to stop."

Stewart faces three counts of attempted murder, along with a slew of other charges including arson.

Authorities raided a trailer home in Stafford County as well, where neighbors say Stewart's father lives. Residents say investigators used a battering ram to bust through a trailer window. Investigators say they feared the front door might have been booby-trapped with another homemade bomb.

Authorities say Stewart may be retaliating after getting charged for indecent exposure over the summer. He's also wanted for breaking a restraining order against the ex-girlfriend who was the bombing victim. There was also a domestic violence charge involving her.

"He's a bomb maker. He's made three bombs and deployed them. I don't know anything more vicious than that... and especially going after a police officer," said Richard Marianos, a chief investigator with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Stewart is thought to be driving a red, 2013 Hyundai Elantra with either Virginia or Pennsylvania plates.

Local, State and Federal agents are working across the Commonwealth, and as far as Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana, to track down Stewart.

Investigators say Stewart grew up in Pennsylvania and attended Temple University. They say he was later a law student in North Carolina. Authorities say Stewart's ex-girlfriend lives in Stafford County, along with some of Stewart's own family.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Stafford County Sheriff's Office at 540-658-4400, Crime Solvers (anonymous) at 540-659-2020, or by texting STAFFORD and your tip to CRIMES (274637).

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