Man Threatens Sen. Yee With Homemade Explosives and Gun

Investigators were forced to detonate homemade explosive devices found in the suspects home in his front yard.

A "usable" bomb was found Wednesday afternoon in the Santa Clara home of a man who allegedly threatened State Sen. Leland Yee.

Members of the CHP's Hazardous Device Detail, working with the Santa Clara County Sheriff's bomb squad, found a "useable device" -- an explosive -- at about 3 p.m. Wednesday at the man's home at 3131 Humboldt Ave. in Santa Clara, said Sean Kennedy, spokesman for the CHP's Protective Services Division.

The explosive will be blown up Thursday in a trailer to contain the blast, a California Highway Patrol spokesman said late Wednesday.

The detail had considered digging a hole in the front yard of the home to destroy it with an explosive charge as they did to another explosive device found Tuesday, but decided it would be safer to contain the explosion in the trailer, Kennedy said.

The discovery of the bomb came after the CHP and sheriff's deputies Wednesday resumed their search inside the residence of Everett Basham, 45, who was arrested for threatening or intimidating a public official and other charges Tuesday.

"We keep turning over a page and finding something new every time," Kennedy said.

Basham was arrested at 10:45 a.m. Tuesday by officers from the CHP's Protective Services Division. Two hours later, at about 12:45 p.m., officers from the CHP's SWAT unit executed a search warrant at Basham's home, observed dangerous chemicals in the residence, and notified the CHP's Hazardous Device Detail, Kennedy said.

The detail's officers went into the home and were later joined by the Santa Clara County Sheriff's bomb squad, Kennedy said.

"They found the precursors for homemade explosive items," Kennedy said.

As they catalogued and removed some of the items, officers became concerned that one article could be an explosive, Kennedy said. Rather than risk an explosion if they put it into a vehicle, the officers decided to blow it up in the home's front yard, Kennedy said.

"They dug two holes and lined them up with sandbags," Kennedy said. "They detonated around it and caused it to be destroyed without letting the item explode."

"For the safety of all, they decided it was safer to do it in the front yard," he said.

CHP officers and the sheriff's bomb squad continued searching Basham's home Wednesday, Kennedy said.

Basham is being held in Santa Clara County Jail without bail, Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Jose Cardoza said. He was arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats, threatening or intimidating a public official, igniting or attempting to ignite an explosive device with the intent to commit murder, and unlawful possession of a concealed firearm, Cardoza said.

The CHP's Protective Services Division, based in Sacramento, investigates reports of threats to public officials in California, Kennedy said.

On Wednesday, Yee's office released a statement indicating that Yee had received threats against him "in response to his legislative efforts to end gun violence," with both the explosive devices found in Basham's home as well as with "an illegally loaded firearm."

Yee has introduced several bills into the State Senate aimed at toughening California's gun control laws. In particular, he wants to limit the number of rounds magazines can hold, and  which is designed to replace a normal magazine release button with a recessed button that can only be accessed through the use of a tool - such as, the tip of a bullet.

Yee argues that bullet buttons too easily get around California's assault weapon ban, which states that guns with both pistol grips and detachable magazines are considered assault weapons, and are therefore illegal.

Yee's bullet button bill, SB 249, was killed in Appropriations last year and never made into a law, which many speculate was due to widespread opposition to tougher gun control laws. However, following the tragic deaths in December's Newtown school shooting, Yee has been attempting to reintroduce the bill.

Yee announced he will give a press conference with members of the CHP's investigation team to discuss the threats made against him at 10:15 a.m. Thursday at the Hiram Johnson State Building in San Francisco.

Yee represents California's 8th State Senate district, covering San Francisco and most of San Mateo County, including Woodside.

-- Bay City News Service contributed to this report

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