A 4th of July incident involving what police called "improvised explosive devices" shut down part of downtown Asheville Monday night, according to the Asheville Police Department.
Police arrested two people and are searching for two more, the department said.
The incident happened at Pack Square, where a monument to former North Carolina Governor, U.S. Senator and Confederate officer Zebulon Vance stood until 2021.
Police say they arrested Duncan Andrew Small, 20, and Chioke Auden Fugate, 23, "for lighting IEDs similar to pipe bombs and throwing them at the former monument."
"Witnesses at the scene also told officers they overheard Small make the statements that he was going to blow up what remains of the monument," police said. "The explosion was heard throughout downtown."
Although no one was injured by the explosives, officials said the bombs were a danger to the public.
“This sort of activity around a large crowd could have been deadly, so we are grateful it didn’t turn out worse last night,” Police Chief David Zack said.
“The size of the device used and nature of the energetic materials therein presented a clear threat to human life, especially in light of its use in such a densely populated area,” said Capt. Joe Silberman, commander of the city's bomb squad.
Investigators also found a bag belonging to Small that contained zip-tie handcuffs and a two-way radio. Officers found leather gloves and a gas mask belonging to Fugate, police said. They also found in Small’s vehicle a "ballistic vest, pistol and ammunition, and a flare gun and ammunition."