Sedona AZ (November 22, 2019) – At 12:20 PM on November 21, 2019, deputies were dispatched to the Chase Bank, 6666 State Route 179, in the Village of Oak Creek, regarding a man inside yelling and claiming he had a bomb. The suspect had walked into the bank demanding they close his account in addition to making statements about possessing a bomb while having a second bomb inside his van parked outside next to the bank. He was wearing a poncho that covered most of his upper body, appeared to carry a cell phone and a box like object. The suspect’s irrational behavior and sometimes-nonsensical comments caused great concern for employees and customers inside the bank.
Due to the bomb threat, bank employees activated the alarm and evacuated the bank building. Deputies arrived within minutes to contain the bank and create a safety zone for pedestrians and vehicles. Dispatch personnel notified adjacent businesses regarding the situation while directing evacuation.
Other law enforcement agencies assisting included the Sedona Police Department and the Department of Public Safety.
During the initial containment, a US Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer arrived and made contact with the suspect inside the bank. By this time, the suspect had shattered a bank window with an unknown object. The officer attempted to subdue the suspect with pepper spray which had minimal effect. A deputy arrived to assist and due to the suspect’s uncooperative actions, aggressive behavior, and threat to the nearby public, a Taser Stun gun was deployed. The probes struck the suspect and prevented the potential of further resistance allowing deputies to successfully handcuff him and gain compliance. The suspect was identified as 48-year-old Michael W. Chase from Sedona.
The Department of Public Safety’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Unit, or bomb squad, was called to the incident to check for any explosive devices inside the bank or the suspect’s mustard colored van. None were found. While EOD personnel were deployed, the area around the bank, including Highway 179, was closed for nearly 2 hours due to public safety concerns.
Chase was booked into the Camp Verde Detention Center on charges including Misconduct regarding a Simulated Explosive Device, Terrorist Threats, False Reporting and Vandalism. Bond has not been set as of this writing.
Detectives from the Criminal Investigations Bureau are conducting a follow-up investigation, which includes interviewing over a dozen witnesses to the incident. Additional charges are possible.
The Sheriff’s Office and its law enforcement partners appreciate everyone’s patience affected by this incident as it unfolded and until resolution.