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Who lobbed explosive device?
$5,000 reward posted in blast that injured six
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Manteca Police Chief Nick Obligacion addresses the July 4th weekend incident. Special ATF agent Eric Harden is pictured to the right. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

The federal Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agency (ATF) is looking for the person responsible for lobbing an explosive device into a back yard party July 3 that injured six teens including one who will possibly lose an eye.

The ATF and the Manteca Police Department held a joint press conference Wednesday to announce the federal agency is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the responsible parties for the incident that happened during a party on Santiago Way in the neighborhood north of Sierra High and south of Kaiser Hospital.

“This was not a firework,” according to explosives enforcement technician for the ATF Michael Morgan. “It was an explosive device.  We are trying to determine if it was a modified M-80. We are trying to determine if it was intentional or a joke.”

Those injured were between and 15 and 18 years of age.

Morgan noted that most M-80 type smaller explosives are made in homes and can easily take off a person’s fingers. Those devices with more gun powder can take more of the wrist and arm in a hand held explosion with residue from the skin embedding into the face.

Manteca Police Chief Nick Obligacion said his officers got the call at about 11:15 p.m. on July 3 about an explosion in the 300 block of Santiago Way where a number of individuals had been injured by an unexpected blast. Several were taken to area hospitals in private vehicles with others transported by ambulance. One received a serious eye injury and was transported by air ambulance to a Bay Area hospital.

“In conjunction with the ATF, we are offering a reward of $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the responsibles,” the chief said.

  “We all have the right to live, to party and to go about freely; destroy is exactly what these explosive devices do,” noted the Special Agent in Charge of the ATF San Francisco Field Office

“There is no fun or enjoyment in seeing a friend or family member injured by an explosive device. So we are asking members of the community or anyone who might have information regarding this incident because as we all know, someone knows something, and collectively with that information and the help of the Manteca Police Department we can bring conclusion to an otherwise bad situation.”

Anyone with information is urged to call the ATF Field Office in Stockton at 954.9433 or 1888atftips or the Manteca Police Department 465.8101.  Information will be kept totally confidential, according to the Manteca chief. He could not divulge the condition of the injured because of their ages, he added.