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Aiken County man arrested for throwing suspicious explosive device

Michael Barnwell, 35, was arrested after allegedly throwing an explosive device out of a car...
Michael Barnwell, 35, was arrested after allegedly throwing an explosive device out of a car window.(ACSO)
Published: Oct. 31, 2020 at 5:41 PM EDT|Updated: Nov. 1, 2020 at 4:16 PM EST
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AIKEN COUNTY, Sc. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Aiken County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after a man allegedly threw a suspicious explosive device out a car window.

Deputies say they were called to the 700 block of Leitner Street in Graniteville around 2:55 p.m. The caller told deputies that as he was walking down the street, a man driving a green Ford Mustang stopped, threw something out of the window, and drove off. He says as the suspect drove off, the thrown object exploded.

Investigators say the victim was not injured and immediately called for help.

As deputies responded on scene, they said they found a second device, which had not exploded.

Witnesses identified 35-year-old Michael Barnwell of Williston, SC as the suspect driving the Ford. Deputies say they found Barnwell traveling on Old State Park Road near Old Tory Trail Road.

After conducting a traffic stop, they say the car pulled over and Barnwell was taken into custody without incident around 4:27 p.m. He is charged with attempted murder and possession, threatened or attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.

News 12 discovered Barnwell was also arrested back in 2017 for a similar crime in New Ellenton. At that time, a young boy found explosive devices in his front yard, prompting the bomb squad to have to come and detonate them. Barnwell was charged with eight counts of manufacturing, possession or use of a destructive device.

A month later, in Feb. 2017, Barnwell was accused of 10 charges connected to sexual exploitation of minors, after investigators say they found child pornography on Barnwell’s cell phone.

Barnwell was arrested twice in 2017. In his first arrest, he was charged with eight counts of...
Barnwell was arrested twice in 2017. In his first arrest, he was charged with eight counts of manufacturing, possessing, or using a destructive device. His second arrest was for 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.(ACSO)

ACSO, SLED, and Richmond County Sheriff’s Office were called to assist with this investigation.

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