Teen Faces More Weapons Charges
Friday, August 1, 2008
Montgomery County investigators filed more bomb-related charges against an 18-year-old Bethesda youth yesterday, saying he had tested different types of pipe bombs in a field in Gaithersburg.
The teenager, Collin McKenzie-Gude, now faces five additional charges of manufacture and possession of a destructive device, said Battalion Chief Kenneth I. Korenblatt of the county's bomb squad. Police took McKenzie-Gude into custody at his home yesterday afternoon in connection with the new charges.
Korenblatt declined to say exactly where police believe McKenzie-Gude tested pipe bombs. He said no one was injured in the tests.
Court records made public yesterday reveal the extent of weaponry and chemicals that investigators say they found Tuesday in McKenzie-Gude's bedroom. That cache of explosives was called potentially "catastrophic" by an explosives expert.
Among the items found in the bedroom: two AK-47 assault-style rifles, an LAR-15 assault rifle, armor-piercing rounds of ammunition, two bulletproof vests, muriatic acid, nitromethane, various timers, wire, ignition switches and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes.
The materials could be used to make pipe bombs and improvised explosive devices, according to a statement of probable cause signed by Montgomery Detective Edward Zacharek. McKenzie-Gude was arrested Wednesday and charged with weapons violations, possession of a destructive device and possession of explosive materials.
Investigators have said that McKenzie-Gude had compiled a list of home addresses for teachers at the school from which he had just graduated, St. John's College High School in the District. His intentions remain unclear.
The teenager's father, Joseph L. Gude, is accused of buying guns for his son and faces charges of straw weapons purchases.
In the teenager's school yearbook, most senior photographs were next to long quotes the students had submitted, thanking various friends and family members. Next to McKenzie-Gude's photograph, which shows him in a dark green ROTC uniform, smiling broadly, the words simply read: "Live life, don't be a bystander in your own existence. Rage more." The quote is attributed to "Anonymous."
Acting on a citizen tip, Montgomery County police and fire officials searched McKenzie-Gude's home Tuesday afternoon. In addition to the weapons, Zacharek's affidavit states, the collection included "hundreds of rounds of assorted ammunition" and "a homemade percussion grenade, thermite mix, sodium nitrate, aluminum powder, nitromethane, acetone, methyl ethyl ketone, homemade cap well for a blasting cap, large bag of ammonium nitrate prills, bell wire, batteries, and diagrams of explosives devices."
Eric Kelly, vice president of Advanced Explosives Demolition, an Idaho-based demolition firm, and a consultant for the FBI on the Oklahoma City bombing case, said the list of materials, particularly the ammonium nitrate and the nitromethane, found in McKenzie-Gude's bedroom was alarming. "Some of those components can be lethal and catastrophic," Kelly said.
St. John's school officials have declined to discuss specifics of the case.
"The thoughts and prayers of the entire St. John's community go out to the individuals involved in this matter," a school spokesman said in a statement. "Clearly they are dealing with a serious issue and we are giving them the privacy they deserve."