US pageant winner accused of throwing bombs

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Associated Press

Posted on August 5, 2013 at 1:36 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 5 at 1:36 PM

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A young beauty pageant winner in the U.S. is accused of throwing makeshift explosives from a car.

Kendra McKenzie Gill — recent crowned Miss Riverton, Utah — and three other 18-year-olds were arrested Saturday after allegedly throwing the homemade bombs at least nine times.

Police said they admitted buying plastic bottles, aluminum foil and household chemicals before assembling the devices.

"They were throwing them at both property and people," Unified Fire Authority Capt. Clint Mecham told KUTV-TV, adding that nobody was injured. "This goes well beyond a teenage prank."

Fire officials said the devices — which can spew caustic chemicals and shrapnel when they burst — can be dangerous.

"They can do a great deal of damage to property," Mecham told KSL-TV. "They can sever limbs. They can even kill people."

Gill was booked on suspicion of 10 counts of detonating an incendiary device. She didn't appear on the Salt Lake County jail roster Monday morning, and no phone number for her was listed. It wasn't immediately clear if any of the four had an attorney.

Gill defeated eight other beauty contestants in June, showing off her years of piano training with a Scott Joplin number and taking home a $2,000 scholarship.

Riverton pageant officials were expected to issue a decision in Gill's case Monday, according to Justi Lundeberg, a spokeswoman for the Miss Utah pageant.

The Miss America Organization "requires a lot of these young women — that they're living a good life, a clean life," Lundeberg said, adding that she hoped the incident was a misunderstanding. "This is such an unfortunate event. We haven't had to deal with this before."

About 40,000 people live in Riverton, which is 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Salt Lake City.

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