Small blast in North Carolina hotel injures six police, 1 suspect

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 06, 2014 3:37 PM

(Reuters) - An explosion in a North Carolina hotel room injured six police officers and one man who was arrested on drug and identity theft charges, law enforcement officials said Saturday.

Police had gone to a Motel Six in Burlington, about 110 miles northeast of Charlotte, to serve an arrest warrant late Friday, a Burlington Police Department official said.

Officers entered the room and were testing paraphernalia believed to be used for drug activity when the small blast occurred, the official said.

The officer conducting the test sustained eye injuries and another five officers and the suspect were transferred to a hospital for treatment and decontamination, police said.

The motel was evacuated by the Burlington Fire Department after the blast.

It was unclear what caused the explosion.

Local broadcaster WFMY reported that the Greensboro Hazardous Device Team and Hazardous Materials Unit, which also responded to the scene, confirmed there were explosive materials in the room.

The suspect, identified as Don Hershel Winstead, was taken into custody and charged with multiple counts of identity theft, possession of stolen goods and possession of marijuana, police said.

The FBI was assisting in the investigation, authorities said.

(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere in Seattle; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)