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Police arrest suspect involved in the IED explosion in Barrie, Ont. parking lot

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A 36-year-old man has been arrested for a car bombing incident that took place in Barrie last fall.

On Monday, detectives from the Barrie Police Service Street Crime Unit located William Ivan Downey in Ajax, Ont. He was identified as the suspect involved in the explosion that occurred in the parking lot of 108A Anne Street in Barrie on September 27, 2023.

"Not only were his actions extremely dangerous, but he impacted the lives of an awful lot of people and caused a lot of chaos for residents who reside in that immediate area," said Peter Leon, Barrie Police Services corporate communications coordinator.

The incident was reported by several people who called 911 after hearing a loud bang.

Barrie police say a car parked in the outdoor parking lot was targeted shortly before 3 a.m.

In an interview with CTV News in September 2023, Leon said, "We believe at this point there was an explosive device placed upon the motor vehicle parked in the parking lot and that a portion of that device did not explode at the time, became dislodged, and that was the device that was remotely imploded by our explosive unit."

Leon said the service's Explosive Disposal Unit attended the scene and performed a 'controlled detonation' on a device found 10 to 12 feet away from the initial explosion.

While police say the explosion was contained to the parking lot, officers evacuated residents in the adjacent apartment building and anyone nearby.

A member of the Barrie Police Services Explosive Disposal Unit attends the scene at 108-A Anne Street North in Barrie, Ont., on Wed., Sept. 27, 2023.

As a result of the eight month investigation, Downey has been charged with causing an explosion, intent to destroy, arson damage to property, possession of explosives, making or possessing, breaching the prohibition order and failing to comply with the release order.

In court documents obtained by CTV News, Downey is accused of using a pipe bomb to "cause serious bodily harm," endangering the life of a Barrie man, whom police believe was the intended target, and placed the explosive device on the vehicle to "destroy or damage the property."

Police haven't ruled out more suspects being involved in the case, saying the target lived in the apartment building steps from where the bomb went off.

No one was injured in the blast or robot-controlled detonation.

Downey was held in custody and will appear before the Ontario Court of Justice at a later date.

The allegations against him have not yet been tested in court.

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