Los Angeles Police Injure 17 After Detonating Seized Illegal Fireworks

Seventeen people, including police, were injured in an explosion after police intentionally detonated seized illegal fireworks on June 30 in a south Los Angeles neighborhood.

Police Chief Michel Moore told reporters that about 7:30 p.m. local time, the bomb squad was detonating some of the seized illegal fireworks in a containment vessel when it exploded, injuring seven civilians and 10 officers in the area.

Moore said that none of the injuries were life-threatening.

The blast also destroyed the containment vehicle, overturned a nearby car, and shattered windows of houses and businesses in the area.

Moore said that the containment vessel was designed to withstand up to 15 pounds of improvised explosive device (IEDs) and at the time of explosion, there were only 10 pounds of IEDs.

“This vessel should have been able to dispose of this material,” Moore said.

According to Moore, officers followed necessary protocols, but “something happened in that containment vehicle that should not have happened and we do not know why, but we intend to find out why.”

“And you saw the resulting damage, and the total catastrophic failure of that containment vehicle,” Moore added.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti stated on Twitter that he has directed the police department to conduct a full investigation “so we can better understand why this happened.”

Earlier in the day, police arrested 27-year-old Arturo Cejas at his residence where they found the commercial-grade fireworks, including IEDs, stacked about eight to 10 feet high.

Moore said that Cejas brought the fireworks from out of state and intended to resell them for the July 4th weekend.

Cejas faces a charge of possession of a destructive device and may face additional charges for child endangerment because his 10-year-old brother lives at his residence.

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