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Palm Coast Man Arrested for 2022 Bomb Detonation

ⓒ Flagler County Sheriff's Office

A Palm Coast resident was arrested last week in connection to the detonation of a homemade bomb that exploded outside a home in January 2022. The investigation stretched for over two years, but now 49-year-old Jason Burns is in jail for two felony and one misdemeanor charge.

The investigation was carried out as a cooperative effort between the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office’s Homeland Security Team, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), and the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad.

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The incident in the early morning on January 27th, 2022. The FCSO was contacted about a loud explosion and a bright flash, followed by smoke. Two 911 calls were placed, and emergency responders were sent to 30 Poppy Lane in Palm Coast. Deputies are said to have found a distinct smell of gas and smoke, plus what appeared to be the blast site from an apparent explosion. Though the blast was close to where residents were sleeping, no one was harmed. Still, the house the explosion happened next to plus another one were damaged.

Jason Burns’ mugshot. ⓒ Flagler County Sheriff’s Office

The first clue in tracking down the amateur bomber was the determination that the blast had come from a homemade pipe bomb, which left a one-inch-deep, 12-inch-wide crater. Also early in the investigation, detectives identified Burns, a neighbor of the blast site at 27 Poppy Lane, as a person of interest. He was reportedly hostile toward the victims of the blast, and he was noted by FCSO, Federal Bureau and Investigation, plus some local business owners for writing critical letters to various community and business leaders in the area.

A search warrant was served on Burns’ home, by FCSO detectives and ATF special agents, leading them to find items ‘consistent with material found at the crime scene’, according to the latest FCSO report. A drill bit was found with residue from a PVC pipe, plus caulking that could be used to seal the bomb, and a matching sock to one that was found in the bomb.

Burns has maintained his innocence throughout the investigation, saying that he was sleeping in his truck in Flagler Beach when the explosion went off in Palm Coast’s P Section, well out of earshot. Detectives further built their case against Burns by obtaining cell phone records which apparently placed him in the area of the explosion around the time it happened. For detectives, Burns’ alibi was crumbling.

Another search warrant was obtained on January 4th, 2023, almost a year out from the blast. This one gave investigators the green light to collect Burns’ DNA to try and match it to DNA collected at the scene of the crime. It was sent off to the ATF’s National Laboratory Center in Beltsville, Maryland for analysis. In yet another blow to Burns’ story, the DNA was strong enough that analysts put it at a one-in-a-trillion chance that it could’ve come from anyone but Burns. For context, there are only 8.1 billion people on Earth.

An arrest was finally made on Thursday, with Burns being charged with the usage of a destructive device, first degree arson, and violation of probation. He was booked into the county jail late that evening, with his bond being set at $75,000. As of Monday, he still hasn’t posted it and remains in custody. Somewhere in the time since the bombing, he moved to a new residence in Palm Coast’s B Section. Burns has one prior booking in Flagler County, when he stayed in jail for a month and charge last year on likely-unrelated stalking charges.

“In this case, the DNA match was like winning the lottery, only instead of a cash windfall, he got an arrest warrant,” said Sheriff Rick Staly. “I want to commend our Homeland Security section which includes PACE, the Real Time Crime Center, and our Criminal Intelligence Unit for their thorough investigation. This investigation could not have been successful without the support of our partners at ATF and FDLE, who had been working with us from day one of this investigation and help from the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad.”

Written By

Chris Gollon is a Flagler County resident since 2004, as well as a staple of the local independent music scene and avid observer of Central Florida politics, arts, and recreation.

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