Suspect facing terrorism charge in Williamsburg IED explosion

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. -- A suspect has been arrested after an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated in a Williamsburg parking lot Thursday evening.

The explosion was first reported as a vehicle fire at about 5 p.m. at the intersection of South Boundary Street and Francis Street, near Merchant’s Square.

"After units arrived, the cause of the explosion was confirmed as the detonation of an improvised explosive device. No one was injured during the device’s detonation," a Williamsburg Police spokesperson said.

Stephen Bommer was eating dinner at Berret’s Seafood Restaurant when he heard the blast.

“It was really, really loud. It’s like putting your head to the cannons down in Colonial Williamsburg,” Stephen Bommer said. “We thought it was a car exploding but there was a van with a lot of debris on it.”

A law enforcement official on the scene said there was a “small amount of physical damage,” but that he could not elaborate further on what happened.

However, officials did say that a portion of the device did not explode.

Investigators were spotted, along with sniffer dogs, sifting through the mulch looking for evidence.

Stephen Powers

Stephen Powers

Williamsburg Police arrested 30-year-old Stephen Powers at his home in Gloucester County Friday.

Powers was charged with possession of using and explosive device and committing an act of terrorism.

“I would personally like to thank all the local, state and federal law enforcement partners who worked around the clock to quickly apprehend a potentially dangerous member of the community,” Williamsburg Police Chief Sean Dunn said.

Police said that while an arrest has been made, their investigation remains ongoing.

The incident happened as the nearby campus of William and Mary readies for Homecoming weekend.

Campus security officials said they do not consider the incident a threat to campus.

“It is concerning given the recent trends in the world, and the things that are going on,” Jimmy Zhang said. “It’s definitely good to keep a look out and just goes to show that nowhere is completely immune from this kind of situation.”

If you have information about Powers, his activities or this case, please call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP or Williamsburg Police Department at 757-220-2331.