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No explosives found after Florence evacuation, 22-year-old suspect identified

February 6, 2017 Updated: February 7, 2017 at 9:44 pm
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photo - Ryan Hendricks, 22. Photo courtesy of the Fremont County Sheriff's Office.
Ryan Hendricks, 22. Photo courtesy of the Fremont County Sheriff's Office. 

Several homes in Florence were under evacuation Monday morning while a bomb squad inspected a home for possible explosives, according to the Florence Police Department.

No active explosive devices were found, and Ryan Hendricks, 22, of Florence, has been arrested, according to Fremont County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Megan Richards.

About 2:50 a.m., deputies were dispatched to Highway 115 near mile marker 18 after a caller said a vehicle had been closely following them without headlights on for about five miles, according to a Sheriff's Office release.

Deputies found the vehicle on Highway 115 near 4th Street in Penrose, but it spend away before crashing into a power pole near 4th and B streets, according to the release. The driver, identified as Hendricks, ran away, and deputies weren't able to find him.

Then just after 5 a.m., a caller reported finding a man matching Hendricks' description in their barn. After "a brief struggle," deputies took Hendricks into custody, according to the release.

Police said they were warned by Hendricks' family that he may have been building explosives inside his home, located on the 100 block of Front Street, according to Gazette news partner KKTV.

That street block, as well as a one-block radius, was evacuated as a precaution. Main Street was closed between Pikes Peak and Santa Fe avenues.

In a Facebook post, Florence police told the public that "there is no need to panic."

The post also said, "We are taking precautions due to information that a subject involved in an incident with (the Fremont County Sheriff's Office) last night may have devised items of an explosive nature in his residence. The individual does not and has not ever worked for or with any law enforcement agency."

The Florence police chief told KKTV that officers had several encounters with Hendricks over the last two weeks, though he wouldn't elaborate further.

The Florence Police Department, Fremont County Sheriff's Office, Colorado State Patrol and Pueblo County Bomb Squad were all on scene Monday morning, and evacuees were asked to go to the Florence Senior Center or City Hall.

Hendricks is being held in the Fremont County jail without bond on suspicion of impersonating a peace officer, first-degree trespassing, vehicular eluding, second-degree burglary, animal cruelty, reckless endangerment, resisting arrest, driving without insurance, reckless driving, disregarding a stop sign, failing to report an accident, leaving the scene of an accident, driving an unsafe vehicle and improper use of driving lamps, according to the Sheriff's Office release. He may face additional charges from the police department.

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