Man charged in package deal bombing of Texas church, tried bombing of Starbucks

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Jonathan M. Torres, 40, of Beaumont, was charged Friday with use of an explosive to trigger property injury; possession of an unregistered harmful machine (improvised harmful machine); and mailing a threatening communication, in response to court docket data.

Torres’ first court docket look is scheduled for Tuesday. CNN is attempting to achieve a consultant for Torres.

“Primarily based on what we discovered contained in the suspect’s residence, this suspect had the assets and the flexibility to proceed constructing these units, and the incidents have been growing of their harmful affect,” stated Joe Brown, US legal professional within the Japanese District of Texas.

Edward Michel, FBI assistant particular agent in cost, stated, “We have no cause to imagine there are every other units on the market, and we have now mitigated this risk.”

Authorities shared little details about Torres. He goes to a job and doesn’t dwell alone, stated Fred Milanowski of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He gave no different particulars.

Explosion exterior church

The package deal exploded exterior on the entrance steps of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on Could 9 or 10, two weeks after one other package deal bomb was discovered exterior a espresso store within the southeastern Texas metropolis and rendered protected.

“At this level, we imagine the 2 units are linked,” Officer Haley Morrow of the Beaumont Police Division instructed CNN on Thursday.

The 2 incidents occurred weeks after a collection of package deal bombings terrorized individuals in and close to the Texas cities of Austin and San Antonio.

Police say that bomber killed himself as police approached his automobile March 21. He’d made seven bombs, together with people who killed two people and wounded several others in March.

The church explosion in Beaumont brought about minor injury to the constructing, police stated. The church’s rector found the injury, the Proper Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, stated in a press release.

“We’re very blessed that nobody was injured,” the rector, the Rev. Steven Balke, stated in a separate assertion launched by the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. “We respect everybody’s prayers presently. It has made everybody very nervous.”

Earlier bomb discovered close by

The blast got here two weeks after police stated a package deal bomb was discovered, however didn’t explode, exterior a Starbucks in Beaumont, about two miles northwest of the church.

Within the April 26 incident, a package deal was found exterior the Starbucks within the early morning, and a employee moved it inside the shop. Whereas attempting to open it, the employee observed a observe, then took the package deal again exterior earlier than contacting police, authorities stated. Police did not reveal the contents of the observe.

Investigators decided the package deal was an explosive machine, and bomb technicians rendered it protected, police stated.

ATF particulars units, messages

A press release filed in court docket by Jennifer Doreck, particular agent of the ATF, offers the next particulars concerning the investigation.

The Starbucks package deal contained explosive materials and a mousetrap designed to set off the bomb when the field was opened. Within the package deal was an index card with peel-and-stick letters that learn “HAJI DIE USA — JH,” the assertion stated.

Beaumont police obtained the same observe April 27 that learn, “DO YOU WANT BMT TO BECOME ANOTHER AUSTIN” and was signed “J HANCOCK,” the assertion stated.

After the church explosion, parts just like these within the Starbucks package deal have been discovered, together with a mousetrap and small nails and screws, the assertion stated.

In November 2016, Torres had reported to police that his then-roommate, John Hancock, stole 4 firearms.

CNN’s Tina Burnside, Jason Hanna, Nicole Chavez, Joe Sutton and Doug Criss contributed to this story.



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