A candlelight vigil was about to be held Wednesday last week for the victims of the Charlottesville, Virginia violence when an Akron man was taken into custody after a pipe bomb, other explosives, and drugs were found in his car.

Candlelight vigil for Charlottesville victims

As reported by Cleveland.com, 26-year-old Elijah B. Blankenship was stopped in Druid Walk, Akron on Wednesday just hours before a candlelight vigil was to be held for Heather Heyer, 32, who died during the “Unite the Right” Charlottesville, Virginia violence and others that were injured in the car-ramming incident.

K9 team sniff out homemade pipe bomb

The Akron Police Department sent out bomb-detecting K9 teams in the area prior to the vigil, which 500 people were expected to attend. Upon approaching Blankenship’s car shortly before 4 p.m., police found what appeared to be a homemade pipe bomb -- along with a second explosive device in his vehicle. One of the K9s also found two bags containing an unidentified drug and a type of black powder in the vehicle. According to the police report, Blankenship is known to Akron Police as a drug user.

Blankenship told police that both explosive devices found in his vehicle were fireworks and said the bag in which they were stored belonged to a friend.

When the suspect got out of his car, he told the officers there was a folding knife in the waistband of his pants. As a precaution, officers handcuffed him, and, upon finding the knife, took him into custody. The knife was later established as stolen.

The Summit County Bomb Squad conducted a sweep of the area and once officers found nothing else of concern, the candlelight vigil was allowed to continue.

Blankenship is facing felony charges for carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a dangerous ordinance, and, on Thursday, during a court appearance at Akron Municipal Court, he waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

Blankenship is now being held at the Summit County Jail on a bond of $100,000.

Tara Mosley-Samples, an Akron Councilwoman, told WEWS that she immediately knew something was wrong after she spotted police and bomb-sniffing dogs arriving in the area prior to the candlelight vigil. She said she wanted police to “get to the bottom” of the incident immediately. She said that while it wasn't known if Blankenship was a direct threat to the vigil, there had to be intent for him to do something, saying: "Why else would he drive around with a pipe bomb in his vehicle?"

RT News reports that a joint investigation has been launched by Akron police with ATF and FBI agents to investigate whether there is a connection between the suspect and the candlelight vigil. That report quoted Vicki Anderson, a spokesperson for the FBI, as saying that she could not confirm or deny the possibility of an ongoing investigation.