A 1993 mug shot of Christopher Dillingham from Hood River County (OR).
Outside Christopher Dillingham's home
Christopher Dillingham in court Monday
STEVENSON, WA (KPTV) -
A southwest Washington man strapped a bomb to his dog and detonated it Sunday morning, according to sheriff's deputies.
Skamania County Undersheriff Dave Cox said deputies first responded to a report of an explosion at 3:45 a.m. in northwest Stevenson.
When they arrived, they found the remains of the dog.
An investigation by deputies showed 45-year-old Christopher Dillingham attached an explosive device to his dog and then blew it up on his property, Cox said.
Dillingham's son and the boy's friend were inside the home at the time, according to court documents. Deputies said the boys slept through the explosion, but were then woken up by Dillingham, who asked them to help him move a couch out of the house.
When deputies arrived, they said various items were strewn across the lawn, including a couch on its side. The boys went to a neighbor's home.
A probable cause document states Dillingham was placed in handcuffs and agreed to talk to officers at the scene. He said he was preparing for "the rapture," according to court documents, and said "the world is going to end" due to a nuclear strike.
The reason he was throwing his possessions onto the lawn was because he believed "the souls of demons" were in the metal items in his house.
Deputies then asked if he blew up his dog, and he said he did. Court documents state he killed the dog because he got it from his ex-girlfriend and he believed she had "put the devil in it."
"Chris was very calm while we talked, but was irrational with his statements," according to the affidavit of probable cause.
Investigators from three agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, found several items of evidence at the scene of the explosion.
Dillingham said he used black powder contained inside fireworks to create the bomb that killed the dog. Court documents say he also fed the dog treats in order to distract it long enough for him to go behind a wall and detonate the bomb.
Investigators said Dillingham owns a fireworks business and operates a stand in Stevenson every Fourth of July. Dillingham also has a lengthy criminal history in Washington, including charges of domestic violence, assault and DUI.
Dillingham's nephew, Robert, emailed FOX 12 a statement Monday night about what happened.
"I just wanted to make it clear that despite his criminal record my uncle was a good loving father, and a caring person who in his right mind would have never done anything like this," Robert Dillingham stated in his email. "Me and my family were shocked by this, and would have never expected him to do anything remotely like this. We love him and hope that he can get the help he needs as soon as possible."
Dillingham made his first court appearance Monday afternoon. He is charged with possession of an explosive or destructive device with intent to use for unlawful purpose and reckless endangerment.
A prosecutor is still reviewing the circumstances surrounding the incident in order to determine whether animal cruelty charges are also warranted.
"We are reviewing the animal cruelty statutes and case law, and if the law allows, we will file additional charges in relation to the killing of the dog," said Adam Kick, the Skamania County Prosecutor.
Dillingham's bail was set at $500,000. He is due back in court later this month.
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