Last Updated: 9:02 p.m.
Charles Kidd, the 86-year-old man who shot and killed the 36-yrear-old son of his companion at the house on Aug. 14, is at the Flagler County jail, held there on no bond. His house at 20 Blare Drive in Palm Coast’s Woodlands continues to draw law enforcement.
Today, an occupant of the house contacted the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office to report an alarming concern. “Someone in the family was at the house and found a case of what appeared to be hand grenades, they called us, and that’s why we’re out here,” a Flagler County Sheriff’s spokesperson said this afternoon.
The Sheriff’s Office received the call about the alleged grenades at 1:48 p.m. and responded. Seven homes in the vicinity of 20 Blare Drive were evacuated. Others in the neighborhood were advised to shelter in place, or leave if they so wish. For the second time in a week and a half, Blare Drive from Oak Trail to Black Alder was shut down to traffic for several hours.
The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office’s Bomb Squad arrived at the scene at 2:47 p.m., with the entirety of the squad arriving by 3:20 p.m. With it is familiar robot, Frosty.
As it turned out, the crate was full of ammunition, but not grenades.
Deputies got information that Kidd may have had a “container full of explosives described as grenades,” Sheriff Rick Staly said as the issue was still being investigated. “The caller has never seen the items. These were just statements by the caller. So for the safety of the community, deputies responded, set up a perimeter, asked nearby residents to evacuate for their safety,” and the emergency ordinance disposal unit from St. Johns County was called to assist.
“These are very slow processes, because if it is some kind of explosives in some kind of container, you don’t know if somebody booby trapped them or just stored them there,” the sheriff said. Meanwhile, detectives asked Kidd at the jail what the case was all about. he knew of the case. He just didn’t remember what was in it–or where he’d put the key.
It wasn’t as simple as opening the case: if it was unstable or booby trapped, it could blow. So the bomb squad had to use other means to determine what was inside, including using X-ray equipment. “We have to treat it as if it is some type of an explosive device based on the information we were given, which might be true, might be false, we just don’t know yet,” the sheriff said as the operation was ongoing.
Staly was hoping the matter would be resolved before darkness fell. Just as it was falling, it was. “We have determined there was no explosives in this locker, but there was a large amount of ammunition,” the sheriff said. He described the ammunition as fitting the type of weaponry the Sheriff’s Office had collected at the time of Kidd’s arrest–for pistols and rifles. “We are seizing all of the ammunition.”
The roads were reopened, and residents granted access back to their homes. The sheriff was appreciative of residents’ patience, saying there was no short-cut to ensuring that the matter be dealt with safely, deliberately.
Kidd retired to Palm Coast in the mid-1980s after a career in the Coast Guard, from where he retired as a commander. Though he was arrested and jailed the same day the alleged murder took place, the house remained occupied at least by his companion and possibly others. Days later, five cars were parked in the driveway. See: (“Homeowner, 86, Arrested on Murder Charge in Shooting Death of Mark Ruschmeier, 36, in Long-Running Dispute.”)
Eleven years ago, the Bomb Squad was called into the very same street, at 2 Blare Drive, where a pineapple shaped grenade was found in the yard of the house there. The house was vacant at the time, but the yard is adjacent to a school bus stop at the corner of Blare and Oak Trails. The bomb squad took possession of the grenade, which turned out to be a dud. The operation took about three hours at the time. (See: “Grenade in a Tree in Woodland Home’s Yard Turns Out to be a Dummy as Bomb Squad Is Called In.”)
At 20 Blare Drive, the spokesperson said, the bomb squad will go in–by way of Frosty–see what the crate contains “to make sure it’s safe and then I would assume to find a way to get them out of the neighborhood.”