Andrew Schneck is facing charges after attempting to blow up a statue of Richard Dowling, a Confederate officer, at Hermann Park in Houston, Texas. The charges are attempting to maliciously damage or destroy property receiving federal financial assistance.
According to the complaint filed, Schneck was on observed on August 19th, 2017 in front of the monument and was allegedly holding two small boxes which contained, among other things, duct tape and wires. The ranger who observed this ordered Schneck to place the boxes on the ground. Once doing this Schneck took a drink from a plastic bottle and immediately spit it onto the ground. Upon closer inspection the ranger also noticed a timer in the box and contacted the Houston Police Department.
The park ranger asked Schneck if he planned to harm the statue, and Schneck replied he did and that he “did not ‘like that guy,’” prosecutors wrote in court documents.
The clear liquid was field tested as was a white powdery substance found in a small, black aluminum tube which revealed they were most likely nitroglycerin and Hexamethylene triperoxide diamine (HMTD), respectively, according to the charges. HMTD is a high explosive organic compound used as an initiating, or primary explosive. Nitroglycerin has been used as an active ingredient in the manufacture of explosives. ln its pure form, nitroglycerin is a contact explosive, with physical shock causing it to explode, which degrades over time to even more unstable forms. Nitroglycerin is highly dangerous to transport or use. ln its undiluted form, it is one of the world’s most powerful explosives.
Authorities believe the items in Schneck’s possession on Aug. 19 were capable to produce a viable explosive device, according to the charges.
The complaint also states that Schneck has conducted “chemistry experiments” at his home. The city of Houston actually receives federal money for the maintenance of Hermann Park, where the statue is located, which would make this a federal crime.
If convicted, Schneck could face 5 to 40 years in a federal prison. The FBI and HPD are still conducting the investigation with Assistant U.S. Attorneys S. Mark McIntyre and Ted Imperato prosecuting.
This is not the first time he’s been in trouble for this sort of behavior. Schneck was arrested in 2013 when multiple homes owned by his family, as well as his Austin College dorm room, were raided by the FBI. He ended up pleading guilty in 2014 to one count of storing explosive material in a non-standard manner.