The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Suspect Throws Bombs, Leads Police on 40-Mile Chase

By Bill Morlin on November 2, 2012 - 2:56 pm, Posted in Antigovernment, Extremist Crime

A suspect with an anti-police agenda and wanted for attempted murder in Virginia is under arrest in Great Falls, Mont., after leading police Thursday on a wild 40-mile chase during which he tossed seven ignited pipe bombs into the path of pursuing officers.

Laurence Alan Stewart II, 25, is believed to have fled Stafford County, Va., on Tuesday during the height of Hurricane Sandy after separate pipe bombs exploded at the homes of a sheriff’s deputy, a detective and Stewart’s ex-girlfriend. No one was injured.

On Thursday, 1,800 miles away from where the saga began, a Montana state trooper stopped a red Hyundai for speeding on U.S. Highway 87 southeast of Great Falls. As the trooper returned to his vehicle to check the driver’s license, the fugitive’s car sped off with Montana license plates stolen the night before from a Wal-Mart parking lot.

The driver of the vehicle, later identified as Stewart, led state troopers and sheriff’s deputies from two counties on a 40-mile chase, Bradley Beyersdorf, a spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told Hatewatch today. Local schools were locked down as a squad of police cars chased the fugitive vehicle while it sped across the Montana plains.

“He tossed out approximately seven devices (pipe bombs) during this high-speed chase with police,” Beyersdorf said.

font After spike strips failed to stop the vehicle, a deputy finally forced Stewart’s vehicle into a ditch.

“At that point, he gets out and runs with a handgun,” Beyersdorf said. Stewart eventually surrendered without gunfire as a Department of Homeland Security helicopter and several police officers arrived on scene.

After Stewart was arrested, a bomb squad found several more pipe bombs in his car. Beyersdorf declined to provide a more precise description of the munitions or say whether other bomb-building components were found in the vehicle.

A 40-mile stretch of the highway was closed until 4 a.m. Friday as police and evidence technicians picked up remains of the pipe bombs, some of which exploded. No one was hurt by the explosions.

“From what we know at this point, he was angry at law enforcement in Virginia for investigating him,” the ATF spokesman said. “There is no indication that he had any extremist agenda outside of his propensity for violence toward law enforcement officers.”

It’s not known why Stewart was fleeing to Montana, a state that is regarded as a haven for assorted anti-government extremists and white supremacists.

Investigators at this point also don’t know when or where the suspect built his arsenal of pipe bombs, or where he obtained plans to build them, Beyersdorf said.

Stewart is charged in Stafford County, Va., with two counts of attempted murder of law enforcement officers and two counts of arson of an occupied dwelling and one count of use of a weapon for a terrorist act. Additionally, he is charged in Fredricksburg, Va., with one count of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, firing a missile into an occupied dwelling and arson of an occupied dwelling.

He is being held in the Cascade County jail in Montana, where additional state or federal charges are expected to be filed.

Stewart was arrested on a domestic assault charge on June 26 in Stafford County, Va., and failed to show up for a court hearing on that case, the Fredricksburg News reported in today’s editions.

Prior to the bombings, Stewart set up a website and claimed he has been unfairly treated in Stafford, the newspaper reported. “He had particularly harsh words for the former girlfriend and several of the officers involved in the misdemeanor cases against him,” the newspaper account said.

“With all of the lies and dirty dealings I feel like I do not have a chance for justice,” he wrote.

“At this point, I might as well commit some crimes,’’ Stewart wrote, according to the Fredricksburg newspaper. “If I am to be blamed for wrongdoing I should at least have some fun and do whatever I want without regard. Tell a man he is something enough times and eventually even he will start to believe it.”

  • Brian

    While I’m glad they caught this deadly dude, he doesn’t appear to be an anti-government extremist.

  • adamhill


    You don’t know what you’re talking about.

  • Bill

    Meh, 40 miles in Montana won’t get you through one county, besides, they’ve only had actual speed limits for maybe a decade. It’s all fun and games until a sheep or cow wanders onto the highway when you’re doing a buck 50 in your Hemi Charger.

    Calling the state a “haven” for extremists is sort of a stretch, I’m not sure that Montana has a lock on whackjobs. This may have a much more mundane backstory when ex-girlfriends and specific cops are involved. Broken hearts and bombs just sort of go together for some people. In my experience, most bad guys have an anti-police agenda.

  • aadila

    So an armed white male going around looking to pick a fight with a group of unarmed black kids, shoots one, and wants to be considered a hero?

    Why didn’t he call the cops instead of going around looking for black people to gun down?

    Sounds like a dangerous vigilante who should be in jail. Thanks, John for pointing out another reason to take the guns away to stop the violence.

  • Peter Hockley

    John, first names, dates and places. Also links to the appropriate news story/ies. Or is this from WorldNutDaily?
    The statistics show that violent crime very rarely crosses racial lines. A news story like this would be all over the net. Please crawl back to whatever white supremacist hole you crawled out of, and close it tight shut behind you.

  • John

    Meanwhile, this site has continually ignored the black youth violence against unarmed whites which exploded this past summer and continues. This violence is considered a sport by the black youths. Of course, they are actually all victims just acting out on their frustration. In a recent case, a black youth mob, after beating up a girl in a part, decided to attack a white male who happened to be armed. He shot the main attacker and has been berated for hurting a poor black youth who was doing nothing wrong. I would think the violent mob action would be just cause for people to be angry.

  • Erika

    *sigh* i really didn’t pay enough attention at this to notice that this was the same idiot leaving pipe bombs in Stafford County. Leave it to Virginia to supply someone who iis so much of a nutcase that he stands out in Montana :(

  • Aron

    Pipe bombs don’t kill people.

    I do.

  • CriticalDragon1177

    Bill Morlin,

    Is it just me, or does this sound like something out of a Hollywood action movie?

    Anyway, I’m really glad the police did their job and were able to apprehend him.

  • adamhill

    Pipe bombs don’t kill people. People kill people.

  • Erika

    High speed chases are extremely common in rural areas – there were not policies against pursuits which are more common in urban areas. At least that was the case in the rural area where i worked in the public defender’s office.

    Of course, if this had happened in a major city there probably would have been live news coverage of the chase especially once the bombs started flying :)

  • Reynardine

    In quite a different incident, early voting had to be shut down for a couple of hours at a library in Winter Park, Florida, today, because two suspicious-looking objects, one of which appeared to be trailing a fuse, were discovered there. After having been detonated, they were examined. One was a cooler filled with random electronic parts and had a USB cord sticking out of it; the other was a bag of common trash. Whether these were deliberate dummies or random objects is not yet public knowledge.

  • Andrew

    I’m glad they got this dangerous person off the streets and no one was killed by this mad man. Hats off to the police involved.

  • Gregory

    What, did Robert lazo finally exercise his right to use explosives as a means of self defense?

  • wgblomberg

    Usually the stop pursuit policies are different from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. However, I think Aron is right because this most probably occured in the open areas of Montana, and not downtown somewhere.

    But, once you start throwing explosives (or shooting) pursuits are usually guranteed to the end because of the issue of threat to life (let him/her get away and may kill someone anyway… so not taking that chance)..

    I give great kudos to the Montana officers for keeping their cool and not shooting him as soon as he exited his vehicle (after throwing **7** pipe bombs at them).

  • Sam Molloy

    Yes, Aron, a Corvette would have been faster, and with the top down, easier to throw pipe bombs out of.

  • Sam Molloy

    It is a tragedy that he ruined his life this way. If he’d have just driven that little Hyundai to Montana, he could have landed a job screwing oil pipes together and made more money than he’s ever seen.

  • Aron

    I hate myself for saying this, but that car chase sounded terribly exciting. Although I’m surprised the Montana 5-0s pursued. I thought it was general SOP to not engage in high-speed pursuits. Though this is sparsely-populated Montana, so maybe it was considered safer.

    Except for the pipe bombs.

    On another note, happy LXIX, Reynardine!!!