Dec 21, 2015
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Richmond police have identified the man suspected of possessing a homemade explosive device that prompted a bomb squad detonation Sunday as 55-year-old William Celli (pictured).

Celli was booked on suspicion of making criminal threats and possessing an explosive device in connection with the device discovered at his home at 5131 Mcbryde Ave. on Sunday, police said.

Celli became the subject of an investigation after someone reported him to police. He posted on Facebook about building a homemade explosive and had expressed interest in harming Muslims, Richmond police Lt. Felix Tan said.

Celli reportedly posted against liberal policies, immigration and Muslims on Facebook and made threats to Muslims leaving Masjid Al Rahman mosque on 36th Street, Capt. Mark Gagan told the San Francisco Chronicle.

No further information was offered about Celli and his possible plans Monday.

A Walnut Creek police bomb squad detonated the device late Sunday afternoon, after detectives and a SWAT team served a search warrant at the home.  No one was hurt, according to police.

Neighbors of the suspect’s home had been evacuated about 2 p.m. Celli had been arrested earlier that morning.

The entire ordeal stemmed from a Thursday tip to police that the suspect had expressed “his intent to harm the Muslim community in the City of Richmond,” Tan said.


About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.