United States man charged with plotting to bomb Confederate statue

A 25-year-old Houston man is accused of trying to plant explosives at a Confederate statue in a Houston park, federal officials said Monday.

He was released from probation early previous 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.

A park ranger caught Andrew Schneck kneeling next to a statue of Confederate leader Richard Dowling at Hermann Park Saturday.

The FBI says Curtis told Schneck to come out of the bushes near Dowling's statue, and he emerged holding two boxes with duct tape and wires inside.

When confronted Saturday night in the park, he tried to drink some of the liquid explosives but spit it out, officials said. Following the raid, then-22-year-old Andrew Cecil Earhart Schneck pleaded guilty to one count of storing an explosive in a manner not in conformity with regulations.

NBC's Houston affiliate, KPRC-TV, also gave additional details on Schneck's arrest in a Monday write-up.

HMTD is peroxide that is commonly used by suicide bombers and terrorists as a powerful explosive, according to the American Chemical Society.

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This is not Schneck's first brush with federal authorities over explosive materials. The guard called 911 after noticing the other materials Schneck was carrying, according to a criminal complaint obtained by KHOU. Authorities declined to specify what materials they found in the home, citing the ongoing investigation.

A Houston police bomb squad said that a timer, wires connected to a homemade detonator, battery and the hexamethylene triperoxide diamine found on Schneck "were capable to produce a viable explosive device".

The ranger reported seeing Schneck with two small boxes, according to the Department of Justice, and ordered him to put them down.

In a motion arguing for early termination of his client's supervised release, Schneck's lawyer, Philip Hilder, argued Schneck had been "of exemplary character" since his arrest.

Schneck made his initial appearance in court Monday morning. That included a ban on coming in contact with explosive materials.

The statement from the USAO indicated that if convicted, Schneck faces "a minimum of five and up to 40 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine".

  • Megan Austin