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Mental health exam ordered for San Francisco bomb suspect

Judge orders mental evaluation for San Francisco man accused of having bomb-making material
San Francisco man Ryan Chamberlain was charged with possessing an illegal explosive device

A federal judge ordered a mental health evaluation Wednesday for a San Francisco man who allegedly kept keeping bomb-making items in his apartment, the Associated Press reported.

The public defender for Ryan Chamberlain, 42, requested the evaluation at a court appearance, according to the AP.

On Tuesday, Bay Area federal prosecutors announced that they had charged Chamberlain with possessing an illegal explosive device, a crime that can bring up to 10 years in prison.

In an unsealed affidavit, authorities said they found all the makings of an improvised explosive device (IED) — including explosive powder, electronic fuses and ball bearings and nails that can be used as deadly shrapnel — in a bag in his apartment.

Chamberlain was arrested Monday evening near the Golden Gate Bridge after a three-day manhunt.

Authorities told the public that Chamberlain should be considered armed and dangerous. But friends feared instead that he was going to hurt himself, based on a note sent out on Facebook after he fled.

In the note, Chamberlain lamented recent heartbreak, a job loss and perceived betrayals. He said goodbye to his friends and family and told them he loved them.

When authorities released photos of Chamberlain and launched a nationwide manhunt, Chamberlain sent another message to his friends.

"A panicked update to my letter that should have posted by now," he wrote, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. "Nothing they're reporting is true. No 'stashes.' Not 'armed and dangerous.' No car 'rigged to explode.'"

The note continued: "I explored some ugly websites, a year-ish ago. I was depressed. I let Walter White get to me. I thought I was done. That's it. No one was ever in danger. And recently I was all better. I owe my friends and my girlfriend for that. But I guess I did enough for the damage to be done. I'm so sorry everyone."

When asked at a news conference Tuesday what Chamberlain planned to do with the materials found in his home, the FBI's David J. Johnson said, “We weren’t exactly sure.”

Authorities wanted to find Chamberlain “before he had an opportunity to do anything,” Johnson said. “Not saying he was planning any type of those activities .... We wanted to make sure public safety was our No. 1 concern and we wanted to take care of that mission.”

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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