Jackson County man accused of trying to blow up mother in explosion

JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. - A man upset with his mother had plans to blow her up with an explosive device, authorities said Thursday.

The Jackson County Sheriff's office arrested Roger Dale Johnson, 45, Wednesday afternoon on two counts of first-degree attempted assault and possession of a destructive device.

Deputies said an improvised explosive actually detonated when Johnson's mother and a deputy went into a shed at her home, but no one was hurt.

Johnson's mother initially called deputies and said she was having issues with Johnson, and that he might be on drugs. She told them she had been trying to get him to leave the house. When deputies got there, things took a turn.

"We got out there and he was in the shed, and our deputy called him out, and he told them he couldn't go in the shed," said Jackson County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Rocky Harnen.

The mother gave deputies permission and told them her son had taken a propane tank out there. They were worried about what he had planned.

"When the deputy walked in with the mom there was a small explosion," Harnen said. "He had apparently made a device with PVC pipe and gunpowder which had ignited when they moved some things in the shed.

"Fortunately, the propane tank was not turned on, or it would have been a very big disaster."

Deputies said Johnson made a comment that the explosive was supposed to go off when his mother was out in the shed earlier. They said the arrest is alarming on multiple levels.

"If they have that mindset of hurting somebody with an improvised explosion, what are they going to do next?" Harnen said. "Are they going to blow up a building, somebody's business, a school?"

Authorities said Johnson's charges could be upgraded to attempted murder.

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