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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Independence police say the “suspicious device” found in a vacant apartment at the Independence Ridge Apartments was an improvised explosive device made of consumer fireworks with added shrapnel. Police say it was made to harm people.

Residents like Lindsey Wesley watched the bomb squad recover the I.E.D. Monday night.

“To be honest my initial thought was maybe meth lab because who thinks to put a meth lab in an apartment?” asked Wesley. “I am like, ‘oh, they are just going to bring everything out. Everything is going to be okay.’ That’s when they were like, ‘you need to get inside for your safety.’ I was like, ‘okay, there is something actually serious going on right now.’”

Wesley moved from her balcony to her bedroom to continue to watch the drama unfold. She says she saw the bomb squad officer in the apartment move the I.E.D. on to the balcony and lower it to a barrel on the ground.

“He was brave,” Wesley said, “because he wouldn’t even turn his back on it once.”

Neighbors said the man who used to live in the apartment was a trouble maker. One person, who did not want to be identified because she was scared for her safety, said she saw him beat up his girlfriend and threaten another neighbor. Police were called both times.

Police said they are looking at that person as a possible suspect.

While folks at the Independence Ridge Apartments are still shaken from the experience, Wesley credited the police for keeping everyone safe during what could have been a deadly situation.

“I admire them because the were really brave, and if that is what it was, they pretty much saved a lot of people last night,” said Wesley.

After it was recovered, the bomb squad took the I.E.D. to a safe location and blew it up.