California

Man on meth lit an explosive and threw it under a cop car — then ran, police say

Tristan Proto, 22, of Santa Rosa, was arrested after police said he lit a firework and threw it under a vacant patrol car at a Safeway in Guerneville on Friday.
Tristan Proto, 22, of Santa Rosa, was arrested after police said he lit a firework and threw it under a vacant patrol car at a Safeway in Guerneville on Friday.

A 22-year-old man ingested methamphetamine, then lit a firework under a Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office patrol car in the parking lot of a Safeway because he didn’t like the sheriff’s office, according to a news release from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.

Just after noon on Friday, a Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy was getting lunch at a Safeway in Guerneville when he heard a loud explosion that rattled the grocery store’s windows, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.

When the deputy ran outside, he saw people pointing at a man running through the parking lot, chased by an off-duty law enforcement officer, the sheriff’s office said. The off-duty officer tackled the man and held him until the deputy handcuffed him, according to the news release.

The man, identified by police as 22-year-old Tristan Proto of Santa Rosa, told police he had an “M-80 type firework” with him, lit the firework and threw it under an unoccupied Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office patrol car “because he doesn’t like the Sheriff’s Office,” officials said.

Proto was in the area because he was visiting downtown Guerneville with a friend, police said. The pair, who had taken methamphetamine Friday morning, got in an argument and had briefly separated, police said.

That’s when Proto, in the Safeway parking lot, lit the firework, police said.

Since the firework exploded, authorities haven’t been able to determine what kind of device it was, other than “a pyrotechnic explosive device which is illegal to possess and illegal to detonate,” according to the news release.

Proto was arrested on suspicion of using an explosive with the intent to injure and violating the terms of his probation, the sheriff’s office said. He was taken to the Sonoma County Jail, where he is being held in lieu of $78,000 bail.

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