Two charged with setting off explosive in Hall County

Police say chemical explosion at Lakeshore Mall caused by carnival employees

Police say two Hall County carnival workers celebrated a little too much on Memorial Day and are being charged with setting off a homemade explosive.

Gainesville Police were called to the Lakeshore Mall shortly before 4 a.m. Monday for a report of a suspicious item, police Lt. Nina Harkins said.

Officers searched the mall parking lot and found a homemade chemical explosive device, police said. The device, a plastic two liter bottle containing aluminum foil and some chemicals, had already been detonated.

An unidentified carnival employee complained of burning in his throat and eyes, but did not require treatment, police said. No other injuries or property damage was reported.

Police arrested Brett Davis, 19, and Andrew Leslie, 24, both of Gainesville, on charges of reckless conduct.

Davis and Leslie are seasonal employees for Valdosta-based Geren Rides, which has been operating the carnival in the Gainesville mall parking lot for about two weeks, Geren spokesman Ray Rowell said.

The suspects were released from the Hall County jail and were back operating carnival rides Monday afternoon, Rowell said.

"It was a practical joke," he said. "They were just stupid and thought they could scare everybody."

The carnival closes Monday night.