Man charged for trying to destroy or damage Houston monument
HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Investigators and agents say it all started on Saturday night when a ranger out at Hermann Park noticed Andrew Schneck, 25, was kneeling in the bushes by the General Dowling Monument.
"Come to find out that he had two small boxes which could have contained, well, let's say questionable in nature," says Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
"That ranger is a hero, noticed the suspicious behavior, took action, called us and obviously, we are here today," says Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo.
Documents from the U.S. Attorney's Office say when the park ranger confronted Schneck, he took a drink from a bottle, then immediately spit it out. The park ranger also noticed a timer and wires on those boxes. The liquid was field tested, which revealed it was made up of several highly-explosive chemicals including nitroglycerin.
After that, Schneck was taken into custody. The FBI and ATF began investigating a home on Albans Road near Hazard Street.
Neighbors tell FOX 26 News that back in 2013, the same house was under investigation, as well as a home on Fall River Road near the Greater Uptown Super Neighborhood.Records show that home at the time was also owned by Andrew Schneck's family.
"After the FBI had been here for quite some time, I mean hours and hours and hours, my son and I had heard an explosion outside and it was apparently when the FBI detonated a bomb or something explosive that they had found within the house," says Robin Rosenberg.
Years later on Monday evening, a similar situation at the Albans Road home.
"So we were about a block away and she was playing in the backyard, so she probably heard it the best and it sounded like...boom!," explains Mary Catherine Lewis with her daughter Kara.
Investigators and agents say they believe Schneck may have had plans to explode the monument at Hermann Park. Mayor Turner advises everyone protesting monuments to do so in a peaceful manner.
"We have people that are operating 24/7, don't make a mistake that will literally, literally can change your life for the worst, you don't want to do that," says Mayor Turner.
If convicted, Andrew Schneck could face up to 40 years in federal prison.