People in one Columbia County community shared thoughts after pipe bombs were found inside of a home in their neighborhood.
NewsChannel 6 first told you that the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office arrested 35-year-old James Richard Grates II after searching his home on Lakeview Drive in Grovetown. That’s where the sheriff’s office found two pipe bombs and a weapon in Grates’ possession.
We spoke with neighbors about how shocking it is to know that pipe bombs are just down the street from your home. One neighbor said she knew of a little boy who lived in the suspect’s home and he was just a regular kid riding his bike up and down the street.
“The little boy that would live there would ride his bike around the circle and say hey and he would go outside and sell lemonade,” Heather Osborn, a neighbor, told us. “He was a sweet kid.”
Osborn said she grew up on the block, but moved away and had recently relocated back. She had no idea the home she purchased a cup of lemonade from was also where pipe bombs were being made.
“This is a really quiet street where nothing ever happens so it’s a little crazy,” she exclaimed.
Police arrested Grates Tuesday night at his home on Lakeview Drive in Grovetown.
ATF Resident Agent in Charge out of the Savannah Office, Lenwood Reeves said the agency found two pipe bombs. Both were rendered safe.
Police added Grates, a convicted felon on parole, also had a shotgun.
Christopher Traxler, another neighbor, told us, “It’s just kind of shocking that something like this would happen so close.”
Grates faces state charges of possession of a weapon by a convicted felon out on parole. ATF is pursuing federal charges.
While the investigation is underway, neighbors said they still feel safe.
“I still feel safe. I still love living out here. I’ll just make sure I keep an eye out,” Traxler said.
Osborn added, “It makes you a little shocked, a little uncomfortable, but things happen. But, from what I’ve learned they have the situation under control so, that makes you feel a little better, a little safer.”
Neighbors told us off camera that Grates lived with a girlfriend and child, but that he lost a son a few years back. They also said he’s been incarcerated before.
Richmond County Sheriff’s Office confirms in 2011, Grates was involved in an accident that caused a death and he received a homicide by vehicle 1st Degree charge along with several other charges.
We will keep following this story.
Photojournalist: Mark Gaskins