The Costa Mesa home of a man who blew himself up last month contained an array of laboratory equipment, mysterious liquids and powders and a homemade shotgun, court documents show.
Costa Mesa police responded to a home in the 3100 block of Bermuda Drive about 7:45 p.m. on April 14 after neighbors reported a loud bang or explosion.
When officers arrived, they found Kevin Harris, 52, decapitated in the doorway.
A cardboard box with wires was found next to the body, according to documents filed in Orange County Superior Court late last week.
At the time, at least a dozen homes in the Mesa Verde area were evacuated as a safety precaution. Inside the home, using a remote device, authorities discovered a brown string fastened to a doorjamb in a hallway, a microscope in the bedroom and samples of something unknown hanging from fishing lines, drying.
Glass vials filled with liquid lined a wooden rack and several jars containing white powder were discovered. Among the other seized items were four fragments from a metal pipe bomb, an improvised shotgun made from a galvanized pipe and six liquid samples in perfume vials and jars, possibly containing chicken parts, court documents show.
Investigators could not immediately comment on the chemical makeup of the liquids and powders found in the home, however, a police spokesperson said the Orange County Health Care Agency was testing the materials.
Harris posted anti-government sentiments online but family members described him as an inherently gentle person altered by the progression of mental illness that took hold of him in the 1990s.
"The mental illness, the paranoia totally possessed him," said Harris's cousin, Dan Evans, 66, of New York. "… The illness always won out.… It's just so painful to have a beautiful spirit like that taken away by an illness because it changed him," Evans said.
Family members encouraged him to get help, but without success, Evans said.
Costa Mesa police told the Los Angeles Times that they will never be able to determine whether Harris' death was a suicide or accidental death.
I "didn't think he would kill himself," Evans said. "I can certainly see why he would. He had to be in a lot of pain because he couldn't connect with anybody."