SANTA CLARA -- The home search of a Santa Clara man accused of threatening a state senator will continue Thursday after authorities found more "destructive devices" inside Wednesday, having already detonated an unidentified substance on the front lawn the previous night.
Bomb technicians initially planned to detonate the unspecified devices on the front lawn of the home after first burying and covering them with sandbags, but decided to instead summon a bomb chamber out of concern about the effects of an open-air explosion, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Sean Kennedy.
The search will enter another day because investigators determined they could not complete a search of the home by dusk, Kennedy said.
Adam Keigwin, a spokesman for Democratic Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco, told The Associated Press that Yee was the senator who received the threat and it was passed on to the CHP. He said the threat to Yee was made in response to his legislative efforts to end gun violence.
Yee's SB47 would prohibit the use of so-called bullet buttons and other devices that allow for swift reloading of military-style assault weapons.
The CHP -- which is responsible for the security of state officials other than the Attorney General, who is protected by the Department of Justice -- was alerted to a threat made against an undisclosed official and Tuesday morning sent Sacramento investigators to a home in the 3100 block of Humbolt
They linked the threat to homeowner Everett Basham, 45, who that same day was tracked to a relative's house in Sunnyvale, where he was arrested on suspicion of offenses including threatening a public official, making criminal threats, attempting to ignite an explosive device with intent to commit murder, possessing a manufactured explosive, and unlawful carrying of a concealed firearm. He is being held in Santa Clara County Jail. The gun charge stems from the discovery of a loaded handgun in his car upon his arrest.
A search of court records suggests Basham does not have a criminal record in Santa Clara County. Basham once worked for Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.
Wozniak told the Bay Area News Group that Basham worked for him for one day about a decade ago before departing the company of his own accord. He said Basham later worked for Hewlett-Packard.
He called him "a brilliant engineer" who constructed electronic devices at his home, and posited a theory that the explosives may be related to that pastime.
"I knew him to be so dedicated to constructing devices using the proper methods, which use cleaning solvents," he said. "It may be misleading for them to call it explosives."
Wozniak said that while he hasn't been in contact with Basham for a long while, he attended his wedding and "still cares about him," and urged people to postpone judgment until all the facts of the case are known.
"You have to realize that in our culture it's proper to put the burden of proof on the accuser," he said. "Let's be patient and find out what it's all about."
A SWAT team was sent to the Santa Clara home Tuesday afternoon -- and alerted to possible booby traps -- but backed out after discovering suspicious chemicals, Kennedy said.
"It was a real eye opener when we got here," he said. "It wasn't what we were looking for and they quickly made an exit."
Hazardous materials specialists were summoned and were able to safely dispose of most of the undisclosed substances save for one. Experts could not readily identify the compound and out of precaution dug a hole in the front lawn, lined it with sandbags, and detonated it, incinerating the substance.
"It was out of safety. Some of these materials can explode with even a little contact," Kennedy said.
Details about what was being searched for were expected to be revealed with the return of a search warrant expected later this week.
Since the controlled explosion Tuesday night that shook the nerves of residents on the street -- including a handful of neighbors who were evacuated for a time because of their proximity to the home -- the CHP and Santa Clara County Sheriff's bomb squad have led an exhaustive search of Basham's home. The federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives joined the effort, and the Santa Clara Fire Department, Santa Clara County Fire Department, and an ambulance also manned the scene.
Wednesday afternoon, bomb technicians found the additional devices and tested small samples of their contents for explosive properties, explaining a pair of dull popping noises emanating from the home. Other officers intermittently loaded a CHP truck with items from the home.
The splintering faded wood paneling, cracked stucco, and lawn overgrowth of Basham's home stands out from the mostly well-manicured and maintained homes that dot the quiet street. Multiple cables and wires descend from a tall microwave antenna, and at least five security cameras surveil the home's perimeter. Remnants of exploded sandbags still littered the lawn, while more sat on the sidewalk ready for use.
Kennedy said that the inside of the home mirrors the outside in terms of its disrepair and clutter, making for a painstaking search for any other dangerous items. A dog living at the home was given to the suspect's parents.
Neighbors described Basham as reclusive and a little odd, but not necessarily dangerous.
"It's pretty surprising. ... I mean, I didn't think he would make a bomb," neighbor Sandi Jamison told ABC-7. "He was weird, you know. Did I have a neighborly relationship with him? I would say no."
Staff writer Mark Gomez contributed to this report.
Contact Robert Salonga at 408-920-5002. Contact Mark Gomez at 408-920-5869.