RACELAND, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A local bomb squad was busy Monday morning after an arrest that involved weapons drawn and a fistfight.
It was an arrest where both police and the suspect were armed, and there was a pipe bomb ready to detonate.
WSAZ.com’s Randy Yohe talked to the officer who put his life on the line before federal agents showed up.
That agency would be the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), now the lead investigation unit.
The Raceland Police officer says he was charged and attacked by a knife-toting madman. A major highway was shut down, and police say the bomb that they finally disposed of by explosion could have caused catastrophic damage.
"Why were you out so early in the morning?" Yohe asked suspect Tommy Lee Gumbert, 50, of North Carolina.
"I was getting a pack of cigarettes," Gumbert said.
But Raceland Police Officer Eric Ross says when he finally got wild-driving, DUI suspect Gumbert's white van pulled over around 3:30 a.m. Monday on U.S. 23, Ross says Gumbert charged at him with a knife in his pocket.
And, with his gun drawn, Ross says he got into a knockdown, drag-out fistfight for his life.
“If he'd reached back in the van, because there was something odd about him, if I could have seen the knife out, I would have shot him," Ross said.
With backup on the scene and Gumbert subdued, a search of the van turned up a small arsenal of weapons.
“He had a .357 Magnum, a sawed-off shotgun, a high-powered rifle and a pipe bomb," Gumbert said.
“What about the .357 Magnum?" Yohe asked Gumbert.
"I don’t know anything about it," Gumbert replied. He also said he didn't know anything about the shotgun and the pipe bomb.
A bomb squad robot removed and safely exploded a pipe bomb that police say was powerful and ready to fire. They estimate it had an explosive radius of 200 feet.
Greenup County Sheriff Keith Cooper says Gumbert has a history of threatening to kill local family members.
Ross says he sensed those threats were heading for a deadly reality Monday morning.
“There was an intention to hurt somebody, maybe kill somebody,” Ross said.
Ross says Gumbert also had some wigs and changes of clothing in a van that's registered to a woman from Greensboro, N.C.
Gumbert, a former Greenup County resident, was arrested on concealed weapons charges. Other charges included assault on a police officer and possession of explosive devices.
And police say there will likely be federal weapons and explosives criminal charges filed very soon.
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