Two Forest City teenagers charged with reckless use of explosive devices in high school parking lot

(ABC 6 News) – Two Forest City teenagers have been charged in relation to an explosives incident in the Forest City High School parking lot Sept. 7.

According to Winnebago County court documents, 18-year-olds David Michael Rick and Landon Anthony Gerdes are accused of setting off three “pool chemical bombs” around 9:30 p.m. Sept. 7.

Rick was taken into custody Sept. 7 and appeared in Winnebago County Court Monday, Sept. 18, on a charge of felony possession of explosive materials or destructive device with intent to use; and another charge of serious misdemeanor reckless use of explosives or destructive device.

According to court documents, Gerdes was charged by summons a day later, and is scheduled to appear in court Monday, Sept. 25.

Gerdes faces a charge of serious misdemeanor reckless use of explosives or destructive device; as well as a charge of felony threat–explosive or incendiary device.

Defense attorney Christine Branstad, representing Gerdes, shared the following statement Monday night:

“Mr. Gerdes takes these charges seriously, but also wants the public to be aware the allegation is that two teens mixed cola with pool chlorinator then closed bottles and allowed the reaction to cause a pressure explosion of the bottles, approximately three times.

The actions occurred in a parking lot where spectators gathered to watch from some distance.

The current charges do not allege the teens intended to threaten, alarm, or harm people or property.

Mr. Gerdes and his family encourage adults and teens to be aware of the dangers of such internet-encouraged actions.”

Forest City public schools superintendent Darwin Lehmann said he could not comment on the ongoing criminal investigation.