On Saturday, a Houston man was arrested after he attempted to blow up a Confederate statue in a Texas park with liquid explosives, The Houston Chronicle reports. Andrew Schneck, 25, was charged on Monday as stated in a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office:
A 25-year-old man has been taken into custody for attempting to maliciously damage or destroy property receiving federal financial assistance, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez.
A criminal complaint was filed in Houston federal court today charging Andrew Schneck, of Houston. He made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Milloy this morning, at which time he was temporarily ordered into custody upon the government’s request pending a detention hearing set for Thursday, Aug. 24 at 2:00 p.m.
Saturday evening around 11 p.m., Schneck was observed by a Hermann Park ranger kneeling in some bushes near the statue of Confederate officer Richard Dowling. The suspect was seen holding two small boxes that contained plastic bottles full of liquid, duct tape, and wires. The ranger said Schneck took a sip of one of the bottles when he was confronted but immediately spit it out. A timer was also found and the ranger called police.
Authorities discovered that Schneck had in his possession a white powdery substance, nitroglycerin, and Hexamethylene triperoxide diamine, which is “a high explosive organic compound used as an initiating, or primary explosive,” according to the statement. “Nitroglycerin is highly dangerous to transport or use. In its undiluted form, it is one of the world's most powerful explosives.”
Schneck’s residence was later searched, where they found “significant hazardous materials,” the FBI said.
This isn't the suspects first run-in with law enforcement, or explosive materials. The Chronicle notes that when Schneck was 22, his home was raided by federal authorities and found he had been storing chemicals that could be used to make nerve or tear gas, as well as picric, a military-grade explosive. He plead guilty in 2015 to knowingly storing explosives and was sentenced to five years probation. But in 2016, a judge released Schneck from his punishment.
The Dowling statue was built in 1905 to honor his service in the Civil War as a Confederate lieutenant. It was the first statue publicly financed in Houston. Dowling Street was named after the officer, but was recently changed to Emancipation Avenue.