RALEIGH, N.C. — A Wake County teenager accused of possessing 24 pipe bombs made his first appearance in court Tuesday.
Jarrett Brown, a rising senior at Apex High School, was pulled over Monday, following a hit-and-run incident in Cary. During a search of his vehicle, police found six pipe bombs. Fuquay-Varina police later searched his parents' home and found 18 more pipe bombs.
Brown was arrested and charged with 24 counts of possessing weapons of mass destruction and a hit-and-run charge.
Greg Brown, Jarrett's father, spoke out in the courtroom, explaining more about who his son is.
"He is a good kid. He is inventive. He is assertive. He is curious. He's a honor roll student," he said. "He had no intention of ever setting one of those things off. I think he was just curious to see if he could do it."
"You have a good kid and they experiment and they do things you don't know about," Greg Brown said. "You can't be with them 24-7. You can't be going through their pockets. I had no reason to do anything like that."
"He did not realize the magnitude of what happened to him. When I heard him say to the detectives, 'Do you think I can go to school tomorrow?' He did not understand the magnitude of what he did," said Connie Brown, Jarrett's mother.
School officials speak highly of Brown, who is a honor student and member of the Boy Scouts.
"Jarrett was never in my office for anything. He was never in any kind of trouble, no discipline referrals, well-loved by every students, very much off the radar screen," assistant principal Kevin Sergent said.
"He was really nice, really outgoing. Just kind of stood out. He had a bunch of friends, but he kept to himself sometimes," student Holly Goodwin said.
Students said they were happy the authorities acted when they did.
"After the Columbine thing, everyone is going to be concerned about school violence. It is really surprising, coming from a small town like Apex," student Curtis Driver said.
"It's scary to think about that," student Melissa Williams said. "He could have brought them to school. Anything could have happened."
Brown's parents said their son purchased the items for the pipe bombs over the counter at retail stores. They also said Brown left the scene of the accident because they are having trouble with their car insurance and he was trying to protect them.
Brown is charged with having weapons of mass destruction. While it may sound like something relatively new in North Carolina, it is not. The charge has been on the books for years. It was only after the events of Sept. 11 was the law updated to include chemical or biological weapons.
Brown is currently in the Wake County Jail.