More details emerge on UC Davis explosives case
Feb11

More details emerge on UC Davis explosives case

At a bail hearing on Friday for University of California, Davis, chemist David Snyder, more details emerged about the case against him for alleged possession and intent to make destructive devices, reckless disposal of hazardous waste, and possession of firearms on campus. Snyder was injured in an explosion in his campus apartment on Jan. 17. From the Sacramento Bee: Prosecutors on Friday said investigators found explosive materials, including nitroglycerine, in UC Davis chemistry researcher David Snyder’s blast-damaged apartment – and said he had been warned in the past not to make explosives at his university’s labs. … Snyder, 32, pleaded not guilty at his Friday bail hearing in Yolo Superior Court. He remains held in lieu of $2 million bail at Yolo County jail on 17 explosives and firearms-related charges connected to the early morning blast Jan. 17 at his Russell Park apartment in Davis. Prosecutors added seven firearms counts in an amended complaint against the chemist, one each for weapons investigators recovered from the apartment, along with what Holzapfel said were “multiple boxes of ammunition.” Yolo Superior Court Judge David Reed denied Snyder defense attorney Linda Parisi’s request to lower Snyder’s bail to $500,000, saying his alleged actions put friends, neighbors, colleagues and first responders at risk. Three weeks after the blast, Snyder sat quietly in the jury booth, his damaged left hand in a substantially smaller wrap than at his first court appearance. … In Snyder’s apartment, prosecutors allege he had several common explosives: a vial of triacetone-triperoxide, known by its initials TATP; hexamethylene triperoxide diamine, or HMTD; and [cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine, or] RDX. … [Snyder defense attorney Linda] Parisi downplayed prosecutors’ explosives claims following the hearing, saying the materials were in “very small amounts” that would require “some force to detonate.” UC Davis officials declined to comment on Friday’s hearing, but said campus administrators in 2011 had received a complaint stemming from a 2009 incident in which Snyder and a classmate allegedly made small firecrackers in a chemistry department lab. The complaint was reviewed and the case closed, university officials said. … I’m not sure where Parisi is getting her explosives information, but nitroglycerine, TATP, and HMTD are primary explosives, which means they are generally considered very sensitive and easily detonated. RDX is a secondary explosive, which means that it is less sensitive. When people design explosive devices, typically a small amount of a primary explosive will be used to set off a larger amount of a secondary explosive (or so I learned when I was reporting Examining Explosives). Snyder is due back in court on March 14 for “a prehearing conference,” the Bee says. There’s still no word...

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UC Davis chemist arraigned on explosives, waste disposal, and firearms charges
Jan24

UC Davis chemist arraigned on explosives, waste disposal, and firearms charges

UC Davis chemist David Snyder was arraigned this afternoon on three counts of reckless disposal of hazardous waste, three counts of possession of a destructive device or explosive, one count of possession of materials with intent to make a destructive device, and two counts of possessing or bringing a firearm onto campus. All ten counts are felonies. He’s currently in jail with bail set at $2 million. He has a bail hearing scheduled for Feb. 8. From the Associated Press: Snyder’s defense attorney, Linda Parisi, said her client had the materials for research. “What happened in Dr. Snyder’s apartment was an accident. He harbored no intent to build or detonate an explosive device,” she said. “He is a chemist working on a variety of projects.” Snyder has a doctorate in chemistry from the university. University spokeswoman Claudia Morain said he was involved in a chemistry department project “focused on small molecule synthetic organic chemistry.” She could not say if chemicals used in that research were dangerous or explosive. From the Sacramento Bee: Yolo County prosecutors say UC Davis researcher David Snyder had liquid and solid explosive materials and the components to detonate them when he triggered an explosion in his Davis apartment Jan. 17. He also had help, they allege. “There was somebody who helped him,” said Michael Cabral, assistant chief deputy district attorney, who is prosecuting the case, following Snyder’s arraignment on explosives and weapons charges Thursday. Cabral said the person is connected to UC Davis, but is not a faculty member, and was questioned by authorities. From CBS13: The facts are coming out slowly, and according to a CBS13 source, on the day the suspect was arrested, materials used to make explosives were found in several dumpsters around Davis. If the chemicals had exploded, the outcome could have been deadly. David Snyder, the UC Davis researcher with access to hazardous and dangerous materials to make explosives, may have gotten them from his job. According to a CBS13 source, investigators believe some of the chemicals found inside Snyder’s apartment came from a UC Davis laboratory. After the explosion, the source says someone went to Snyder’s home before the bomb squad arrived and removed part of the chemicals, only to dispose of them in dumpsters around Davis. And from UC Davis: As immediate, interim measures, the administration has: Asked the UC Davis Police Department to evaluate how we might strengthen our communication with members of the campus community about the state law that prohibits firearms on campus, with particular focus on possession of firearms in student housing. Initiated a focused administrative review of current practices within the Department of...

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UC Davis chemist arrested on explosives charges
Jan22

UC Davis chemist arrested on explosives charges

It turns out I was wrong on Friday: That “‘small chemical explosion’ in a UC Davis student housing complex” wasn’t meth. The university researcher who set off the explosion, 32-year-old Ph.D. chemist David Snyder, was arrested over the weekend on explosives and firearms possession charges. According to the Woodland, Calif., Daily Democrat: The discovery of explosives came after a late-night visit to Sutter Davis Hospital by Snyder, who had apparently injured his hand in a small explosion while tinkering in his home laboratory. Hospital staff called police, prompting them to investigate the apartment. UCD police evacuated about 70 Russell Park residents early Thursday morning and allowed them to come back early Friday. A total of 40 units had been evacuated, most of them fourplexes. Following the explosion, campus police searched Snyder’s apartment and discovered materials that can be used in making bombs, along with firearms. Some of the chemicals were found to be unsafe and were disposed in an open area east of campus. “He also had explosives in his possession as well as the ingredients for making explosives,” said Yolo County Bomb Squad Commander Nick Concolino. UCD police had several bomb teams assisting them including the ATF, FBI, Yolo County bomb team, Sacramento County bomb team and CHP. Concolino said the number of units was appropriate for the level of explosives that needed to be removed, taking a total of 20 hours. If the bomb squad didn’t take the chemicals out to a firing range for detonation, then I’m guessing the material was rather unstable. A 2011 story about bomb squad training indicates there’s a range close by. A local television station, News10, adds that: Authorities won’t comment on the quantity, or specific types of chemicals. “We are talking about chemical mixtures that are primary explosives and also secondary explosives,” Commander Nick Concolino of the Yolo County Bomb Squad said. “There was an evacuation done because of a clear and present danger to the public.” Snyder’s apartment complex was evacuated along with five other housing complexes, and a daycare. Police also wouldn’t comment on the fertilizer and paper targets that were removed and won’t say how or where he got the chemicals. Authorities would only say many can be legally obtained. “A lot of the items can be obtained over counter and by themselves can’t constitute a violation of crime but the mere fact they’re put together creates an actual explosive,” Carmichael explained. As for a shaft of pipe that was venting out of the apartment bedroom window, News10 reports that it was just an “air conditioning attachment and is not considered suspicious.” UC Davis spokesperson Claudia Morain...

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