Bomb Disposal technicians on the job handling explosive charge
Kosse – The snitch was very insistent. Someone was making bombs and leaving them in out of the way places for officers to deal with after folks found them.
The confidential informant, an inmate at the Limestone County Jail, told Sergeant Chris Winkler there was an improvised explosive device in a known drug house located in 7400 block of Highway 14 outside this central Texas town.
Though Winkler searched for it, he could not find what he was looking for, so he told the McLennan County Bomb Squad to stand by, that he was going back to the jail to talk to his man again.
On his second trip, he found the bomb in a yellow mop bucket on the back porch near the door.
He texted pictures to Investigator Hunter Herring of the McLennan County squad, who was en route to the scene; he reported, “…it appeared to be a Coleman Propane Fuel Cylinder” wrapped in blue Saran wrap.
Herring was taking no chances because the informant had assured Winkler there were BB’s, black powder, flash powder and Tannerite inside the cylinder. He drove a robotic device up to the porch and focused the automatic camera on the item.
An explosives robot shifting a suspicious package to a safer place
The robotic arm grasped the bomb and dragged it to an open area on the property where Deputy Derek Russell, clad in the “poopy suit” of an explosive ordnance disposal technician, set up the x-ray board and made a picture of its interior. The image showed a powder mixture with BB’s.
They went back and dug a hole “2 to 3 feet down in the dirt,” placed an explosive tool on top, filled the hole back in and detonated it.
When they opened up the hole, they found powder, BB’s and shrapnel from the propane cylinder.
The officers turned the evidence over to an ATF agent the next day, May 18.
It’s an open case, part of an ongoing investigation.
Sheriff Dennis Wilson declared the incident “a booby trap situation” for his officers. He feels they were targeted, and told area newsmen his department has developed a “person of interest” in the case.
But it’s only one of three such cases, one of which has the same trappings of civil war against civil authorities through the stealthy location of improvised explosive devices, either as actual implements of destruction, or as devices of psychological warfare.
The sheer viciousness of the design of the bomb found under a bridge on FM 1963, Falls County, on May 4 rivals that of the bomb someone left at the drug house outside Kosse.
It’s in the details of the bomb maker’s art that the elements of the crime begin to take place in terms of the terror intended.
According to Deputy Derek Russell, when he and his three fellow bomb squad officers arrived, Detective Graham showed them what “appeared to be a 2 liter plastic bottle with a liquid inside, as well as what appeared to be shotgun shells inside the bottle of liquid.
They made x-rays of the bottle and a cylindrical item next to it, took samples of the liquid in the bottle as well as that which was found inside a cooler that “appeared to be filled with water.”
They got samples of the liquids before they used a “popper” round loaded on a “PAN disruptor” to split the assembly open.
The bottle contained gasoline, as well as 20-gauge shotgun shells, M-80 firecrackers, and a shredded Winchester 20-gauge shotgun shell box. A sample of the liquid from the cooler proved to be ethanol.
The material was stored for ATF agents, who took it to the lab for analysis.
The case is still active.
On May 18, Crawford resident Gary Gohlke called to say that his grandson found what “appeared to be a very big bullet” in a barn on their property at 1432 High Bridge Road.
The big bullet was painted red and had a serial number and “M79, CFS Co.” printed on a black band around its circumfrence.
Investigator Hunter Herring determined it was a 90-millimeter anti-tank round of the type used at the Ft. Hood Tank range.
According to Burt Gohlke, his son found the round during a ramble at the barn and placed it there as a dangerous keepsake.
The disposal technicians had Burt Gohlke dig a hole about four feet deep with his tractor; they placed it in the hole, covered it with dirt, and used a counter charge to detonate it from a spot more than 500 feet away.
They waited 30 minutes, then dug it up only to find “there was nothing left of the ordnance.”
He concluded by remarking that “this case will be carried as closed.”
A portable explosives magazine