SAN JOSE — A bomb-making suspect, arrested after police searched his home in connection with an explosive device found on the outskirts of Oak Grove High School last month, has been charged with several crimes but none are related to the scare that prompted a campus evacuation and bomb-squad response.
Still, a police report accompanying the charges, citing neighbors and people who live with the man, Andrew Page White, paints a picture of a man known for regularly working with fireworks and tinkering with explosives. In the report, multiple witnesses recalled an instance last year when an exploding backpack injured the mother of his children.
Andrew Page White (San Jose Police Dept.)White, 33, remains at the Elmwood men’s jail in Milpitas, where he is being held without bail for violating his probation related to stolen-car and narcotics convictions in Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties.
Three of his latest charges, filed Monday, appear to be more related to those past crimes: Being a felon in possession of a firearm or ammunition, after a shotgun, handgun, and bullets were found in the four-plex unit where he was staying.
A lone bomb-related charge — possession of materials with intent to make a destructive device or explosive — involves materials described in a police report as “various chemicals, acids, and explosive powders” found in the garage and throughout the same home.
The Oak Grove incident began around 11 a.m. on Nov. 18, when a gardener at the school spotted a strange device in a planter box near the exit of the student parking lot off Eagles Lane.
“The device was approximately the size of a person’s fist, wrapped tightly with black electrical tape and had a green hobby fuse protruding from a black shrink wrap tube. It appeared that the device was intended to be initiated with a flame,” a bomb squad report reads.
In an act that has since drawn admonishment from both police and school district officials, the gardener picked up the device and brought it to the main office on campus, after which school administrators promptly called police. The building and school were either locked down or evacuated, and the bomb squad was called. The device, which police said included a container of liquid and a CO2 canister, was later safely detonated.
After reviewing surveillance cameras in the area and receiving tips from the public, San Jose police went to Tyhurst Court on Nov. 21 looking to serve a search warrant on White. An overnight standoff ensued. After police flushed White out by lobbing tear gas into the unit where he had holed up, he was taken into custody.
Police would later serve the search warrant and recover the firearms and materials they believe were for making explosives. They also confirmed that White’s two young children lived at the home amid the hazards.
But it was clear early on that while White appeared to be a reasonable suspect, there was no immediate direct evidence tying him to the Oak Grove device, as reflected in the current charges against him. Police, in their announcement of White’s arrest, acknowledged that detectives had not confirmed his involvement and were still working on the case.
Several people told police about an incident in July 2018 where at the four-plex, a woman described as White’s partner was injured after picking up a backpack that then exploded. One witness told police that the woman “was almost blown to pieces.”
White is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.