Case Dismissed Against Coachella Man Accused of Threatening to Bomb Desert X

City News Service Pristine Villarreal

INDIO (CNS) – A Coachella man accused of threatening to bomb the 2021 Desert X art exhibition had his case dismissed Tuesday after completing his misdemeanor diversion program.

Phillip Matthew Carrillo, 33, was charged with one misdemeanor count of falsely reporting a bomb, according to court records.

“The court granted misdemeanor diversion back in September, over the people’s objection,” Amy McKenzie with the Riverside County District Attorney’s office told City News Service. “He was required to complete 40 hours of community service and write a two-paragraph letter about what he learned. He completed those terms, so the Court dismissed his case with the successful completion of diversion.”

Carrillo was taken into custody about a week after the Palm Springs Police Department began investigating a social media post he allegedly authored in early February of 2021, targeting the contemporary art biennial in the Coachella Valley.

A motive for the alleged crime was not specified by police, who said the investigation into Carrillo’s alleged threat targeting Desert X stemmed from the discovery of a pipe bomb near a popular trailhead in Palm Springs on Feb. 16, 2021. The sheriff’s Explosive Ordinance Team detonated an “active explosive device” near the entrance to Araby Trail near Southridge Drive and Rim Road.

The day after, police said they began investigating reports of “a possible threat made on social media that indicated there would be additional bombs placed at a Desert X art exhibit event on an unspecified date or time.”

That investigation led to Carrillo’s arrest. But police stopped short of immediately connecting Carrillo to the pipe bomb found in Palm Springs.

“The investigation into the threat and the investigation into the pipe bomb are being considered two separate investigations at this time as it is currently unknown if they are related,” police said at the time. Investigators have not elaborated further in the months since.

Carrillo has no documented felony convictions in Riverside County.

Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

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