Student who planned to attend Rev. Jerry Falwell's funeral arrested after homemade bombs found in car

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A 19-year-old male student, who is now identified as Mark David Uhl, of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, was arrested after authorities were notified from a family member that he had packed his car trunk with home made bombs, and was planning to attend funeral services of the late Reverend Jerry Falwell who passed away on Tuesday last week.

A family member called police at approximately 11:00 p.m. [local time] on Monday evening saying that Uhl "mentioned some explosive devices he had made."

The funeral services for Falwell were held at the Thomas Road Baptist Church, the first church Falwell founded, at age 22. It was attended by mourners numbering 6,000 in a chapel that exceeded its capacity to host all who came to attend. More room was made for a people who attended the funeral at the university's basketball arena and football stadium.

Police do not believe that Uhl was going to target the funeral directly. Instead they believe he was going to target protesters of Falwell who were going to attend the funeral. The group is known as the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church and believed that Falwell befriended homosexuals, despite the fact that Falwell was against homosexuality.

"I do not believe it was their intent to disrupt the funeral service. We do not believe the Falwells were ever in any danger," said Terry Gaddy, the Sheriff for Campbell County, Virginia who also said the bombs looked like "napalm" and were about "the size of soda cans." Gaddy also said there were at least five bombs. Maj. Steve Hutcherson, who is also affiliated with the Campbell County Sheriff said "what appeared to be about six explosive devices" were found and that the "canisters were filled with liquid."

Several students from the high school Uhl attended, who are believed to have helped make the bombs, are also being questioned by authorities. They are all believed to have been in the same Reserve Officer Training Corps class at Liberty University.

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