Saturday, October 26, 2013

Man held in weapons scare / Residents evacuated, military called after mortar shells found

By PETE BENNETT - Contra Costa Watch EMAIL
Phone: 510-460-5641
Posted: 10/26/2013

WALNUT CREEK / Man held in weapons scare / Residents evacuated, military called after mortar shells found

Published 4:00 am, Wednesday, April 13, 2005
  • hazmat_018_db.jpg
 Contra Costa County Hazardous Materials Responce Unit personnel and Walnut Creek bomb squad police investigate a garage at 2781 Ross Place in Walnut Creek.
 Event on 4/12/05 in Walnut Creek.
 Darryl Bush / The Chronicle MANDATORY CREDIT FOR PHOTOG AND SF CHRONICLE/ -MAGS OUT Photo: Darryl Bush
    hazmat_018_db.jpg Contra Costa County Hazardous Materials Responce Unit personnel and Walnut Creek bomb squad police investigate a garage at 2781 Ross Place in Walnut Creek. Event on 4/12/05 in Walnut Creek. Darryl Bush / The Chronicle MANDATORY CREDIT FOR PHOTOG AND SF CHRONICLE/ -MAGS OUT Photo: Darryl Bush

Walnut Creek police arrested a man Tuesday who they say had an array of weapons -- including a machine gun and mortar shells -- at his home near Larkey Park.
The discovery of the weapons at about 10 a.m. led to an evacuation of residents living within a half block of the home on the 2700 block of Ross Place. Residents remained evacuated into the evening.
Police arrested Denny Hazarabedian, 44, on suspicion of possession of assault weapons, possession of a potentially destructive device and possession of a machine gun, said Lt.Loren Cattolico of the Walnut Creek Police Department.
The evacuation was ordered after Walnut Creek police served a search warrant on Hazarabedian's home and found what appeared to be military ordnance. The explosive ordnance disposal unit from Travis Air Force Base was called to the house and confirmed the presence of a Japanese and U.S. mortar and a U.S. hand grenade, said Master Sgt. Tom Mullican, base spokesman.
The Air Force unit examined the ordnance and determined that there was no potential for an explosion and left the devices with the Walnut Creek police, Mullican said.
"If they were still dangerous and could explode we would have taken them, " Mullican said.
Hazarabedian owns Lafayette Motorsports, a BMW repair shop in Lafayette.
Neighbors described him as a single man who would invite teens into his home to play pool and show off his gun collection. Tyler Santoro, 17, who lives a few blocks away, said he met Hazarabedian through a friend who had car repairs done at the auto shop.
Santoro said he never saw a machine gun or mortars but recalled seeing a rifle and drawer of ammunition. He described Hazarabedian as a cool guy who helped the teenagers build a halfpipe for skateboarding in the neighborhood a few summers ago.
"He just liked to hang out with the kids in the area," Santoro said.
Some parents in the neighborhood had told their children not to go to his house because of the weapons, area residents said.
The Contra Costa County Hazardous Materials unit and federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms also responded to the scene, and a robotic bomb retriever was sent into the home at one point.
Police would not say why the search warrant was served.

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