Police: explosive device situation may have been a suicide attempt

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Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer revealed more details on the explosive device incident in northwest Fresno Wednesday night. Suspect Chad Mazgedian, 43, is facing multiple charges relating to the incident — but it’s just the latest of a long list of charges he already had.

Mazgedian was reportedly on the run Friday from police, as well as federal authorities, after a search warrant was conducted at his Fresno home where explosive material was found. He led officers on a short vehicle pursuit where it ended at Shaw and Marty avenues near a Panera Bread.

Officers learned once inside the restaurant, he went into the bathroom and tried to detonate a device he had, but it malfunctioned. He was tackled by officers after leaving the bathroom and that’s when the device fell to the floor.

Dyer adds it may have been a possible suicidal move.

“The suspect said he was not going to go back to jail. He wouldn’t be taken alive. It’s very, very possible that this was his attempt not only to take his life, but maybe take the lives of others with him,” he said.

After apprehending Mazgedian and evacuating the Pandera Bread and other nearby businesses, police would spend hours to clear the scene. Dyer said it’s rare for Fresno Police to encounter this kind of situation, but his officers know extreme care is the best approach.

“Even though it fell to the ground and didn’t detonate, it doesn’t mean it won’t detonate with any type of radio traffic — or anything that could set this explosive off,” he said.

Mazgedian has an extensive record littered with domestic abuse, elder abuse and stalking charges. He even has restraining orders filed from two family members.

He’s bailed out of jail several times and Dyer said it’s clear he needs to stay there awhile.

“When this individual is out of custody, he’s a danger to his family. He’s a danger to society,” Dyer said. “He proved that yesterday.”

One family member we found could only describe what happened with Mazgedian as a “sad situation.”

Mazgedian has an arraignment hearing scheduled Friday morning.

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