Police in Dunedin, Florida recovered multiple explosive devices along with high-powered weapons, ammunition and a note threatening that “the world will burn” inside the home of a 24-year-old man while serving a child pornography search warrant.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department on Thursday said they arrested Randall Drake after they found a large collection of weapons with photographs of area schools and a threatening note inside his closet.
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri held a press conference shortly after the arrest, comparing Drake to Las Vegas mass shooting suspect Stephen Paddock, who had an arsenal of weapons and materials to make explosives. Gualtieri said that Drake was never on their radar and could have acted as a “lone wolf”
Drake has been charged with two felony counts of unlawfully making or possessing a destructive device and was released on $20,000 bond Thursday. Gualtieri said the suspect will be submitted for a mental health evaluation.
Here’s what you need to know about Drake and the incident:
1. Police Say They Found Bombs in Metal Cigar Containers
On Wednesday, police obtained a search warrant as part of a child pornography investigation. The warrant was for his parent’s home located on Royal Oak Drive North in Dunedin. When police searched the residence, they found a closet that was locked inside Drake’s bedroom and stumbled on a large amount of weapons — including the explosive devices — when they broke it open.
Authorities said two of the devices were made of metal cylindrical cigar tubes and contained gun powder and wicks intended for detonation. The third device was made of plastic tube with gun powder inside. It was wrapped in tape with a fuse, police said.
Members of the Hillsborough County Sheriff Bomb Squad Team along with representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives responded to the scene. The bomb squad then safely removed the three devices from the home, police say.
2. Police Recovered Dozens of Weapons & Thousands of Rounds of Ammunition
Also in the home, authorities said they recovered an assortment of high-powered weapons along with thousands of rounds of ammunition. Detectives removed 10 rifles (including an AK-47), eight handguns, two shotguns, a tactical vest and over 2,300 rounds of ammunition in the home. They also said they found a “make shift firearm sound suppressor” alongside a baseball bat with protruding nails, over 15 knives, a crossbow, brass knuckles and gun powder. Aside from the gun silencer, the weapons didn’t require a special permit or license.
Gualtieri said at his press conference that Drake “had no criminal history” and no known mental health issues. Dranke named many of his weapons, Gualtieri said, labeling the bat “Macy.”
“That’s weird,” the sheriff said. “Randall appears to be as we would refer to as a sleeper. We have no criminal intelligence information on him, he has no criminal history, no background.”
Upon his arrest, Drake refused to speak with detectives and was subsequently brought into the Pinellas County Jail for booking. The case remains under investigation.
3. Detectives Located a Handwritten Note Near Aerial Maps of Local Schools
Police also recovered a cryptic handwritten letter seeming to indicate that Drake would soon go on a bloody rampage.
“The daughters come, and I am ready,” the note said. “I have fed on my hatred for centuries. My fury at those who imprisoned me shall be vast and without mercy. I shall have my bloody revenge, and then the WORLD WILL BURN BURN.”
Read the handwritten note below:
In addition to the note, authorities also found aerial maps of Essrig Elementary School and Ben Hill Middle School, both located in Hillsborough County. It’s unknown exactly what the maps were for.
“It’s very concerning,” Gualtieri said.
In December 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7-years old along with six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The incident is the deadliest mass shooting at a school by a single person in U.S. history. Police recovered numerous items inside Lanza’s family home, including a gun safe that contained over 1,400 rounds of ammunition and other firearms. They were legally owned by Lanza’s mother, who was a gun enthusiast.
Police haven’t yet determined or disclosed what the maps printed out by Drake were intended for.
Detectives in Pinellas County also located an aerial photograph of a water treatment plant in Hillsborough County along with a few books and handwritten notes describing how to make explosives.
4. Drake Was Fired From a Firearms Academy 2 Years Ago
Investigators haven’t yet determined a motive in the planning, as Drake has refused to speak with authorities so far, they said.
“It’s clear that he’s up to something,” Gualtieri said. “What’s the triggered event, why? What’s the motivation, what’s the hatred? Why does he want the world to burn, burn. I don’t know. Hopefully we can try to find out.”
According to investigators, Drake’s last place of employment was at a firearms academy in New Port Richey. It’s unknown how long he worked there for, but Gualtieri said he was fired from the company in 2015 after he walked in with more than one gun strapped to his thighs.
5. Drake’s Girlfriend Described Him as a ‘Nice Guy’
Gualteri said at the press briefing that Drake had been homeschooled since he was in third grade and lived at the home with his parents since 2014. The parents were aware that he was in possession of some firearms but claimed they were unaware of the quantity of weapons and other materials recovered.
Police seized Drake’s computer to further investigate the child pornography claims. They also spoke with Drake’s girlfriend, who told them Drake “was a nice guy” and wasn’t violent.