Houston Man Charged for Attempting to Plant Bomb at Confederate Statue

FBI and other law enforcement working in Houston, Aug. 21, 2017 / Twitter
August 21, 2017

A 25-year old Houston man on Monday was charged with trying to plant explosives at the statue of Confederate officer Richard Dowling in Hermann Park, according to federal officials.

Andrew Schneck's arrest on Saturday night, after a Houston park ranger spotted him kneeling in front of the Dowling monument, was not the first time he has been arrested. He was released from probation early last year after he was convicted in 2015 of storing explosives  and was charged in a criminal complaint filed in federal court, according to the Houston Chronicle.

When confronted Saturday night in the park, he tried to drink some of the liquid explosives but spit it out, officials said.

The ranger then asked if he planned to harm the statute, and he said he did because he did not "like that guy," according to a sworn statement submitted in federal court by an FBI agent investigating the case.

Schneck was holding two small boxes that included a viable explosive, a timer, wires connected to a homemade detonator, a battery, and an explosive compound, according to the statement. He told law enforcement he had other chemicals at his home on Albans Road near Rice University.

Federal authorities said one of the tubes contained nitgroglycerin and hexamethylene triperoxide diamine, HMTD, a "highly explosive compound" used as a primary explosive. Nitroclycerin, in its purest form, is a contact explosive.

"In its undiluted form, [nitroglycerin] is one of the world's most powerful explosives," the statement said.

Schneck's lawyers did not offer many details about the case when reached by the Chronicle on Monday afternoon.

"This is an evolving situation, with an ongoing investigation," said Philip Hilder, who is representing Schneck."It would be premature to comment at this time since we have not seen the evidence."

Vehicles from the FBI, Houston Police Department, and Houston Fire Department were present by the 2000 block of Albans Road, where a single house at 2025 Albans was raided Monday morning. A Hazmat unit arrived on the scene around 8:30 a.m., where a unit of people wearing "FBI Technical Hazards Response Unit" and "FBI Evidence Response Team" swarmed the block, the Chronicle reported.

Federal agents have raided 2025 Albans before. In 2013, a multi-agency team stormed the home owned by Houston art community staple Cecily E. Horton, and her husband, Andrew Schneck. Agents also searched a Memorial-area homed then owned by the couple and a condo in Bryan.

Officials said at the time that the couple's 22-year-old Andrew Cecil Earhart Schneck was the focus of the law enforcement interest. A source initially said the raid was sparked by chemicals that could be used to make nerve gas or tear gas.

After combing through all three scenes, the FBI found a military-grade explosive called picric acid at the Memorial area home on Fall River.

The following year, the younger Schneck was sentenced to five years of probation after pleading guilty in federal court to knowingly storing explosives. In 2016, a judge released him from probation ahead of schedule.

Shauna Dunlap, special agent with the Houston office of the FBI, confirmed the agency was leading the operation, but also declined to provide further information.

Published under: Texas