Honor Student's Bottle Bombs Prank Lands Him in Jail

Elphbert Laforteza to receive diploma, not with his class

A high school honor student, who had been awarded an Air Force ROTC scholarship to a college, was jailed on $860,000 bail Saturday after he allegedly brought a dozen homemade bombs to school as a senior prank and six exploded.

Police later arrested 18-year-old Elphbert Laforteza who was booked at the county jail on five counts of making a destructive device and 8 counts of use of an explosive device to injure.

School officials say high school senior, Laforteza, will receive his diploma next week, but he will not be allowed to graduate with the rest of his class. 

Several of the plastic bottles, containing some type of acid and another unidentified substance, were set in trash cans a few feet from where students were having lunch at San Ysidro High School. No one was hurt when the plastic bottle bombs went off.

"Oh, I'd say a bazooka," one student said when describing the explosion. "This is just a senior prank. Nothing that serious."

A lot of people saw and heard it, but firefighters said the students might not have realized the seriousness of it.

City fire official Maurice Luque said the bombs were big enough to have possibly killed somebody.

"To some kids, they think it's all fun and games,” Luque said. “This is serious stuff. I mean this is a very serious situation here and he's being charged with felonies."

Six more bottles were later found, but did not go off for some reason.

"We immediately went into lockdown mode with the school," Principal Hector Espinoza said.

At the end of the day, no one was injured, but one student's future may be.

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