Suspect arrested in overnight Medford explosions
A Medford man has been arrested on destructive device charges surrounding a wave of recent overnight explosions that have caused little damage, but big disturbances in west Medford and other parts of the Rogue Valley.
Brian Matthew Lighthill, 22, was arrested Thursday on 32 felony destructive device charges accusing him of a rash of overnight explosions reported since at least February in parts of Medford, Central Point and White City, according to a release issued Thursday night by Oregon State Police, and Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau, who was at Lighthill’s residence Thursday morning for the search.
OSP’s explosives unit joined Medford police in searching Lighthill’s home in the 1100 block of Char Way Thursday after serving a search warrant surrounding his alleged involvement in “multiple reports of explosions across the Rogue Valley.”
Investigators with OSP’s bomb squad, Medford police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms allegedly found “numerous items relating to the manufacture of destructive devices” at Lighthill’s home, and ultimately arrested Lighthill Thursday with 23 counts of manufacturing a destructive device and nine counts of possessing a destructive device, according to OSP and Medford police.
Lighthill was held in the Jackson County Jail Thursday on $240,000 bail, records show. Unlawful manufacture and unlawful possession of a destructive device are each Class C felonies under Oregon law.
As of Thursday evening, the Jackson County District Attorney’s office had not yet filed charges in Jackson County Circuit Court, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office had not yet filed any possible charges in U.S. District Court surrounding the ATF investigation.
Lighthill has no prior felony convictions, but has has had prior felony arrests in Lincoln and Josephine Counties on drug and firearm charges that were ultimately dropped after pleading guilty to misdemeanors. Lighthill also has a pending felony charge in Jackson County Circuit Court accusing him of delivering and possessing heroin in February 2020.(Corrected)
How exactly OSP and Medford police were able to link Lighthill to the multiple explosion reports was not immediately available. What’s known, according to an earlier Central Point police report on social media, is that loud predawn explosions have been reported since at least February and evidence was left behind in at least one of the explosions.
Central Point police posted March 4 on their official Facebook page that they’d received about five reports of explosions on the south side of town. None involved injury or property damage.
“In one area, we did locate a small piece of metal that resembled a portion of a CO2 cartridge, but nothing damaged,” the Central Point police post states.
Other posters on the popular private Jackson County Scanner private Facebook group described hearing loud booms in early March in hours as early as 3 a.m.
Budreau said that investigators began looking into what are known as “cricket bombs,” which he described as “a pretty powerful steel encased bomb” made from CO2 containers.
“These bombs were getting tossed by a vehicle,” Budreau said.
Budreau said Thursday afternoon that it’s still under investigation how far back the explosions allegedly linked to Lighthill go back.
“We certainly believe he’s responsible for the most recent rash of this behavior,” Budreau said.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Lighthill has no prior criminal history. Lighthill has no prior felony convictions, but has had multiple misdemeanor convictions in Josephine and Lincoln counties, along with a prior pending felony drug charge in Jackson County Circuit Court.