Crime & Courts

Wichita police: Man with large firework didn’t intend to damage abortion clinic

South Wind Women’s Center (March 31, 2014)
South Wind Women’s Center (March 31, 2014) File photo

A homeless man who went into a local clinic where abortions are performed to apply for a job Monday found himself headed to jail instead after a security guard found what police described as a large, homemade firecracker in his backpack.

The 19-year-old man walked into the South Wind Women’s Center, 5107 E. Kellogg, at about 3:30 p.m. and asked to apply for work there, Wichita police Lt. James Espinoza said. Because clinic personnel did not know him, a security guard went through his backpack.

Along with several changes of clothes, the guard found several knives and a pill bottle about 3 inches tall and 1 inch in diameter “with a wick or fuse coming out of the top of it,” Espinoza said.

The guard placed the device into an office and ordered the evacuation of the clinic. The bomb squad was called in and the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were alerted.

The man, identified as 19-year-old Moises Trevizo, told authorities that he had been staying at various friends’ homes and that “basically everything he owned was inside this backpack,” Espinoza said.

The device was “something an associate of his had made,” Trevizo told investigators.

Authorities have ruled out the possibility of Trevizo’s activity being “some sort of anti-abortion protest,” Espinoza said.

The device was “just a big firework — homemade, but rather large,” he said.

While the bottle could have injured fingers, a hand or limbs, Espinoza said, it was not capable of “blowing out a wall.”

“There was no intent at all” to damage the clinic, Espinoza said.

South Wind is located on the former site of Women’s Health Care Services, the clinic where George Tiller performed abortions for many years before he was killed in 2009. Scott Roeder, an anti-abortion activist, was convicted of first-degree murder after he shot Tiller at point-blank range inside Reformation Lutheran Church on May 31, 2009.

Tiller’s family closed Women’s Health Care Services, but South Wind opened in 2013.

Trevizo is being held on a $50,000 bond after being booked into the Sedgwick County Jail on suspicion of possessing an explosive device. He was also booked on an outstanding warrant through Sedgwick County.

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @StanFinger.

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