(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) The Orange County, North Carolina police department filed felony charges yesterday against the former University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student accused of causing an explosion that seriously injured a professor.
Police arrested Joshua Daniel Edwards, 24, for “detonating a small device” on Nov. 2 under the Davie Poplar tree, which was planted during the school’s founding, WRAL reported.
As police escorted Edwards into the Orange County magistrate’s office, he repeated the phrase, “please, hug a tree.”
Watch Edwards’ strange behavior in WRAL’s video at 0:37.
Officials have not identified a motive in the case, but mental health problems appear to have had a significant role. Edwards has undergone an evaluation since the incident.
Eyewitnesses told WTVD they saw Edwards taking off his clothes and could hear him saying, “Hail Satan!”
He is charged with malicious use of explosives to inflict injury; malicious use of explosives to damage property; assembling a weapon of mass destruction; setting fire to grass or a grassland; assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury; and filing a false police report.
Physics and astronomy professor Dan Reichart saw a fire under the Davie Poplar tree earlier this month, ran over to it, and began trying to stomp it out.
That’s when the device — which officials now believe was a gas can — exploded. Reichart’s face and arms suffered first- and second-degree burns, WTVD reported.
A bystander took a video of Reichart attempting to extinguish the fire and the subsequent explosion:
Reichart said he doesn’t feel animosity toward Edwards.
“I’ll be keeping an eye on this. I want him to get the help he needs, but he also has to face up to what he did. There has to be judicial repercussions for him,” Reichart said, according to ABC 11.
While Edwards remains in jail on a $200,000 bond facing six criminal charges, with serious questions about his mental state, some good has come from the incident.
Reichart’s burned face made it painful to shave, so he decided to participate in No-Shave November, a program that raises money for cancer research.
People who stop shaving during November take the money they would have spent on razors, shaving cream, running water, etc. and donate it to a cancer charity of their choice.
So far he has raised $8,000.Click here for reuse options!
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