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Koreatown Blast Suspect Tells How He Was Injured

Times Staff Writer

The man blamed in a Koreatown fireworks explosion that injured 10 policemen last week says he was poking at a skyrocket with a knife, “curious to see what they make it with,” when he caused an earlier blast that tore off much of his right hand.

“I’m into fireworks,” Gary Weksler said Friday at a Westside motel where he has been staying since his release from Los Angeles County Jail. Weksler was released on his own recognizance Thursday pending a court appearance on charges of possession of a dangerous device.

Weksler, 38, conceded that he had been storing illegal fireworks at his Koreatown apartment. “It wasn’t an overabundance,” he said, just “a little more than an average person would have . . . enough to put on a small show.”

He said he collected the fireworks because he enjoyed putting on private pyrotechnics displays for his friends, usually at local beaches. “It’s a hobby of mine,” he said. “I’ve been doing it for 20 years.”

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Weksler refused to say where he was before dawn June 27 when an M-80 skyrocket exploded in his hand, ripping off two fingers, mangling two others and pocking his face and chest with burns from flaming explosive.

Later that day, officers went to his apartment after hospital personnel who were suspicious of his injuries contacted authorities.

According to police, bomb squad experts had discovered a “major fireworks cache” in his home before a blast tore through the apartment, causing minor to moderate injuries to 10 officers in and around the building.

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Weksler objected to newspaper accounts that mentioned his personality problems and psychiatric counseling as a youth. “I am not some crazy bomber that makes bombs,” he said, stressing that his fireworks, which are illegal in Los Angeles, were the sort that are commercially available in other areas.

Weksler said that despite his injuries and the injuries suffered by the police officers, he would like to continue to “fool around with fireworks.”


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