Holding back tears at a news conference yesterday, Kenneth Kipperman, who is charged with threatening to blow up the site of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, apologized to the public and said he "never" threatened anyone with any type of explosives.

"I have been accused of wanting to destroy property when in fact I wanted to save property," said Kipperman, who was flanked by his wife Paula and daughter Deana. Kipperman was arrested Wednesday after a three-hour standoff with police during which he allegedly claimed to be carrying explosives and holed himself up in the remnant of a chimney.

Kipperman said he wanted only to put "on record" his protest of the tearing down of "what was the remains of a beautiful old historical building" and had intended to stay only 15 minutes in the chimney at the site near Independence Avenue and 14th Street SW. "I was hoping in the matter of 15 minutes that the Washington police department would come and take me out of this site," he said. "I didn't realize until an hour later how complicated the situation had become."

He said he did not come out until a telecommunications line was established because he was afraid of being shot.

"I would like to apologize to the citizens of Washington, the police force, the FBI, my family and anyone else who has been connected with my actions of June 17, 1987," said Kipperman, an engraver with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

Kipperman was released into the custody of the city's Bureau of Rehabilitation. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 23.

He is charged with making a felony threat, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $5,000 fine upon conviction.