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Man tried to blow up Confederate statue, Houston officials say

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Man tried to blow up Confederate statue, Houston officials say

In Schneck's possession were a timer, wires, duct tape and two types of explosive including nitroglycerin, according to the prosecutors who described it as one of the world's most powerful explosives.

Andrew Cecil Schneck, 25, has been charged with "attempting to maliciously damage or destroy property receiving federal financial assistance" after a park ranger saw him hiding in the bushes near the General Richard Dowling monument, preparing to detonate an explosive, the authorities said.

Schneck made his initial appearance in court Monday morning.

"This is an evolving situation, with an ongoing investigation", said Philip Hilder, Schneck's attorney.

Mr Schneck, from Texas, was on five years' probation after pleading guilty in 2014 to improperly storing explosive material. He received a five-year probation sentence.

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

Deron Ogletree, with the FBI's Houston office, said investigators are still determining a motive, but there are "no indications of any additional threats to the Houston area". His Confederate unit defeated a Union invasion force at the Battle of Sabine Pass in 1863. Dowling had been hailed as a Confederate war hero in Houston during the Civil War, serving in the Jefferson Davis Guards.

When the ranger spotted Schneck, he reportedly admitted that he wanted to destroy the statue, saying he "did not like the guy", according to NBC News. A criminal complaint against Schneck outlined that the latter susbstance is a "high explosive organic compound used as an initiating, or primary explosive".

"While placing the boxes on the ground, Schneck took a clear plastic bottle appearing to be full of a clear liquid from one of the boxes", the complaint said. Exams of the substances revealed that they were nitroglycerin and Hexamethylene triperoxide diamine (HMTD), the charges said.

Assistant Houston police chief, Larry Satterwhite, announced that they recovered "significant hazardous materials" in the home but would not disclose what they were. Residents near the home had been evacuated as federal and city authorities search for evidence.

"HPD Bomb Squad assessed the following contents of the box were capable to produce a viable explosive device: timer, wires connected to a homemade detonator, battery and HMTD", Agent Hutchison wrote in the affidavit.

The movement to take down Confederate statues has been criticised by President Donald Trump.

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