A man walking his dog Tuesday morning discovered a body that had been decapitated by a "garden variety" explosive near a middle school in Evanston. Another unexploded device lying near the body has since been detonated by authorities.
"At first I thought it was a joke. I thought it was a mannequin I found," said Dale Wyatt, adding that he thought his dog, Buddha, was chasing a rabbit but was surprised to come across the body.
The shirtless and headless man, identified as 21-year-old Colin Dalebroux, was discovered near Nichols Middle School, at 800 Greenleaf St. in Evanston.
Police said late Tuesday that no parts of Dalebroux's face were recognizable. Body parts were found up to 75 yards away from the blast site.
The 6-inch by 2-inch metal pipe bomb found near the body was "garden variety in nature. Relatively standard. Not sophisticated," according to Cmdr. Bill Evans with the Cook County Sheriff's Police Emergency Services Bureau. There was an ignition source to the bomb, similar to how a firecracker is lit. Evans called it a "hobby fuse."
Another device was found about 30 feet away from the primary scene. Police created a secure perimeter and told onlookers to stand back at a safe distance.
"If you can see the bomb, the bomb can see you," an officer shouted. "Move!"
At about 9:30 a.m., the bomb disposal squad used a robotic device to shoot out the end caps of the device, remove the flash power and render it non-explosive.
Evans said that had the device been detonated in a crowded area, there likely would have been significant injuries. He said that those types of bombs often cause "collateral damage" because they're "typically loaded with fragmentation, like nails."
It was not immediately apparent how exactly the man managed to, apparently, blow off his own head. Evanston police Cmdr. Tom Guenther said it was premature to speculate on reports that the cause of the death was suicide, but confirmed that Dalebroux's head was severed in the incident.
"His legs were underneath his body like he was laying down," said Wyatt. "I couldn't see his left arm... and then everything from the neck up was completely gone."
One neighbor said police later came to his house and told him a man had committed suicide with a pipe bomb, but police have not confirmed the report.
Evanston police cordoned off and searched Dalebroux's apartment near Maple Avenue and Main Street, just a few blocks away from the school. It appears that no active explosive devices were discovered there.
A man matching Dalebroux's description, and who lived in the apartment that police say Dalebroux resided, about eight months ago walked into an area business and then into the middle of a park without clothes on, a source told NBC Chicago.
Police were called and the man was arrested.
Guenther said Dalebroux was known to another police agency in the state, but wouldn't identify which one.
Several people in the neighborhood said they were startled awake by the loud, early-morning explosion.
"It was loud enough to set the car alarms off," said neighbor Sean Ebels-Duggan. "I actually initially thought it was lightning or something and then just went right back to sleep."
Police investigated the explosion shortly before 4:00 a.m., but found nothing. About an hour later, Wyatt was walking his dog, as he says he does every morning, and came upon Dalebroux's headless body near the school tennis courts.
Evanston District 65 School officials closed the school Tuesday and Wednesday.