Police ID man who allegedly had plan to harm Muslims

A Richmond man was arrested Sunday on suspicion of possessing an explosive device and making criminal threats after police received word that he expressed interest in harming Muslims, police said.

Police said a possible homemade explosive device was found at the home of 55-year-old William Celli in the 5100 block of McBryde Avenue, prompting neighboring residents to be evacuated at about 2 p.m. Sunday.

A bomb squad detonated the device shortly after 6 p.m., police said. The evacuation order was then lifted and no one was reported harmed.

Detectives had served a search warrant at Celli's home after receiving a tip on Thursday that he may have manufactured explosive devices and planned to harm the community's Muslims, police said.

Celli was arrested, which was cheered today by the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

"We thank law enforcement authorities for their swift action and we will monitor this alleged case of domestic terrorism closely as it moves through the legal system," Zahra Billoo, executive director of the organization's local chapter, said in a statement.

CAIR officials called for federal charges for Celli, as well as increased security at mosques and an overall rejection of anti-Muslim political rhetoric.