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Homemade explosives prompt police response, 4 arrests

SNELLVILLE -- Homemade explosives set off by teenagers in a Snellville backyard Monday afternoon prompted a sizable police response and four arrests, officials said.

Snellville police who responded to a shots fired call about 5:30 p.m. in the 2800 block of Windmeyer Court heard what sounded like shotgun blasts and called in back-up officers to assist.

A total of eight officers responded and advanced on the suspicious residence with weapons drawn, then took cover around the home as another boom was heard, according to a Snellville police report.

Officers moved in and confronted two people who walked outside and several teens on the back porch before securing the home's interior. But police soon learned the shots were actually homemade explosive devices built from empty water bottles, drain cleaner and aluminum foil, the report states.

Police counted 10 detonated devices and "a large debris field" in the backyard.

"The devices have the potential to cause great bodily harm and property destruction by the shrapnel, pressure and chemicals that are disbursed," an officer wrote.

Four male teens and a juvenile boy admitted to building and exploding the devices, the report says. Two adult homeowners, Charles and Linda Cook, "admitted that they knew what the young males were doing and thought it was harmless fun," the report states. The adults were charged with violating a city ordinance for unruly conduct.

Police arrested the four older teens -- Matthew Dryden, 19, Jordan Mccourt, 18, Christopher Mulhall, 19, all of Snellville, and Nicholas Ralston, 19, of Lilburn -- on felony charges of possessing and manufacturing destructive devices.

A 16-year-old boy was also charged but released to his mother, the report states.

An officer noted the area where the explosives were detonated was densely residential.

"While finishing up the investigation, there were several children playing in the yard to the rear," the officer noted.