TAMPA - When Gloria Brown heard the thunderous boom that rattled half of her house, she was sure someone had fired a gun. After all, she's heard it many times before.
"I know a gunshot," Brown said. But when the Sligh Avenue resident rushed outside her house, she saw a man rushing away on the sidewalk with a bicycle, clutching his left hand.
"He was just running, and there was a blood trail," Brown said. "I'm checking out the blood trail, and that's when I found the finger."
The severed digit was lying on the sidewalk with blood splattered around it. Brown decided to pick it up and call 9-1-1. She gave the finger remains to an officer who arrived at the scene.
"They came over, took the finger, put it in a bag with ice, and took it to the hospital," Brown said. Soon after she learned that the noise she heard was actually an explosion, not a bullet.
"They started putting on their SWAT uniforms with the bullet proof vests with the helmets and the face masks," Brown said. "I knew it had to be something serious."
Police closed Sligh Avenue and ordered people to stay in their homes as they recovered a bomb they described as an improvised explosive device. It's unclear what purpose the device was built for.
Officers say it was the homeowner, James Minyard, who set off the device.
"We're going to question Minyard after he's out of the hospital," said Tampa police lieutenant Mark Scott.
Residents who watched the bomb squad show up were unnerved to hear that a device had detonated near their homes.
"Scared," said Benjamin Hartsfield, who saw the suspect stumble down the street into a nearby BP gas station. "It's a quiet neighborhood but we're scared."
Brown said she's lived in her home for the last four years, and has seen unusual incidents in the past. But she believes it's getting worse.
"You don't know who you're living next to. You don't know what's going to happen next," Brown said. "It's kind of scary."
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