A Mesa officer was involved in a shooting following a call where the suspect threatened to use a bomb on May 9, 2017. The suspect was sent to the hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.

A man who attempted to blow himself up on his ex-girlfriend’s front lawn in Mesa last week is facing 27 counts in connection with the incident, according to court records.

Steven Vanderwall, 41, attempted to blow himself up in the 800 block of South Sirrine in Mesa on May 9 around 4:30 a.m., court records said.

Police received a call that the man was kneeling on a home’s front lawn and warning neighbors to move away from their windows so that they would not get hurt.   

When the first officer arrived, the man told the officer that he was going to kill himself and that he had a bomb, court records said.

The officer commanded Vanderwall not to light a flare and detonate the explosive, records said. A second officer showed up as the man continuously attempted to light the flare as he exclaimed, “I’m gonna teach her a lesson,” according to records.

After failing to light the first flare, Vanderwall took a second flare from his pocket and successfully lit it. The first officer noticed that the man had a several objects attached to his waist, records said.

Court records said as Vanderwall began to move the lit flare toward his waist, the first officer shot once, and the man fell to the ground. Vanderwall then pulled the objects off his waist and threw them away. 

MORE:  Man’s homemade bomb turned out to be real, Mesa police say

Following the incident, five adults and two children who were nearby were evacuated, officials said.     

Mesa police bomb squad personnel arrived and removed the explosives, which were later detonated.

Vanderwall is facing seven counts of aggravated assault, two counts of endangerment, eight counts of misconduct involving weapons, one count of criminal trespass, seven counts of disorderly conduct, one count of inferring with judicial proceedings and one count of misconduct involving explosives, court records said. 

Court records said Vanderwall told police he created the bombs and that he was upset with his ex-girlfriend, who kicked him out of her house without giving an explanation as to why she broke up with him. He also said his ex-girlfriend possessed some of his personal property. 

On March 28, Vanderwall was charged with violating an order of protection.

The man had lived with his ex-girlfriend and two other roommates for approximately two months in 2016, records say.


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