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Public Safety

Public Safety News
Press Release
Friday, October 12, 2018

FBI(HOUSTON, TX)— The FBI recognized Houston Park Ranger Tamara Curtis during an award ceremony today for her heroic actions against a potential bomber in Hermann Park in August 2017. The award acknowledges Curtis’ bravery, quick action, and her efforts to protect the Houston community.

On the evening of August 19, 2017, Houston Park Ranger Tamara Curtis observed Andrew Schneck kneeling among the bushes in front of the General Richard Dowling Monument located within Hermann Park in Houston. Schneck was holding two small boxes with various items inside to include duct tape and wires. After placing the boxes on the ground per Curtis’ request, Schneck took a drink of clear liquid from a plastic bottle, spit it out and poured the remainder on the ground. Curtis then noticed a timer and wires in the box and immediately notified the Houston Police Department (HPD). 

“In a time of increasing threats and decreasing resources, it is incumbent upon law enforcement to partner with our fellow agencies in order to mitigate threats and protect our community,” said FBI Houston Special Agent-in-Charge Perrye K. Turner. “Park Ranger Curtis’ actions on the night of August 19, 2017, showed her bravery and her commitment to keeping the Houston community safe.” 

The HPD Bomb Squad tested the clear liquid and a white powdery substance found in a small, black aluminum tube which revealed they were nitroglycerin and hexamethylene triperoxide diamine (HMTD), respectively. HMTD is a highly explosive compound. Nitroglycerin is used as an active ingredient in the manufacture of explosives. The FBI Explosive Unit Laboratory examined the items in Schneck’s possession on August 19 and determined them to comprise a fully functioning improvised explosive device. 

An FBI investigation revealed that Andrew Schneck researched and tested multiple chemical explosives inside a makeshift laboratory within his West University home. Using dangerous chemicals and processes, he built a makeshift explosive device and brought it to Hermann Park with the intent to destroy a statue of historical Texas figure Richard Dowling. By calmly engaging Mr. Schneck and quickly notifying the Houston Police, Park Ranger Curtis was able to stop the detonation of an explosive device and establish the criminal intentions of Mr. Schneck. 

“Park Ranger Curtis took extraordinary actions. She not only prevented the destruction of a statue in Hermann Park, but also protected the West University neighborhood from a lethal and fully-functioning explosive device,” said FBI Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge Deron Ogletree. “These types of threats are real and challenging to investigate. Park Ranger Curtis did exactly what first responders are supposed to do— she recognized a threat, identified the perpetrator, and accelerated the law enforcement investigation to its successful conclusion. Without her actions, this would have been a difficult case to solve.” 

Andrew Schneck pleaded guilty to willfully attempting to maliciously damage or destroy property in violation of federal law. In August 2018, he received a 78-month sentence, a $10,000 fine, and three years of supervised release after his incarceration.

Remembering Jim Guidry

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