The man, 41-year-old Shannon Patrick Lemon of Zimmerman, was the subject of a traffic stop near the intersection of Highway 169 and Highway 23 on Tuesday morning.
Lemon told investigating officers that he was headed to Elk River from the Pine Center area for a meeting with his probation officer when he was stopped. While he was being questioned, a K-9 officer was called for a consent search of Lemon’s vehicle.
Inside Lemon’s vehicle, deputies discovered the explosive device, according to Mille Lacs County Sheriff Brent Lindgren.
Lemon confirmed the device was a bomb made with nails, gun powder, kerosene and a 12-volt cigarette-lighter attachment that would have detonated the device. Lemon was taken into custody at about 10 a.m. and the businesses at the Milaca Junction and Maple Ridge Mall were evacuated. Parts of Highway 23, Highway 169 and the roads leading to the commercial area were closed. The Crow Wing County Bomb Squad was called to neutralize the device, Lindgren said. The bomb was detonated and evidence has been collected that was needed to pursue criminal charges, he said. Traffic opened again at about 3 p.m. Lindgren said.
Not the first contact with Lemon
The Milaca traffic stop wasn’t the first time Mille Lacs deputies had contact with Lemon.
Earlier in the day, a deputy stopped Lemon outide of Onamia and issued the man a warning for speeding.
During the stop, the deputy observed that Lemon showed “unusual emotion,” Lindgren said. Specifically, Lemon was nervous and angry. A propane cylinder in Lemon’s vehicle also appeared suspicious,the sheriff said.
The deputy contacted North Central Drug Task Force agents who initiated surveillance on the vehicle as it went south on Highway 169. While under surveillance, Lemon made an “indecisive turning decision” which resulted in officers conducting a second traffic stop at about 10 a.m.
Lindgren said Lemon’s motive appears to be to attempt suicide by utilizing the L.P. Gas and the explosive device with detonator in the vehicle. Lindgren said he did not know where Lemon intended to detonate the bomb.
Lemon has s16 convictions dating back to 1990, including domestic assault, second degree assault and burglary. His most recent conviction was in October 2010 when he pled guilty to felony domestic assault in connection with a Sherburne county incident.