A North Carolina man who police say planted a bomb at Asheville Regional Airport told investigators he was preparing to “fight a war on U.S. soil,” according to an FBI criminal complaint filed this week.
Michael Christopher Estes, 46, is accused of planting an improvised explosive device that contained ammonium nitrate – a highly flammable chemical compound – nails, oil and shotgun cartridges just outside the North Carolina airport, police said. The homemade bomb, left on a curb outside the airport’s baggage area, was taped to a ticking alarm clock that was set to go off at 6 a.m., the criminal complaint said.
The bomb was found at 7 a.m. on Oct. 6 and prompted authorities to immediately shut down the airport. The airport reopened about two hours later, according to Fox Carolina.
Near the airport, police found a backpack and tool bag containing shotgun shells, gloves and a roll of Gorilla tape similar to what was used in the IED.
That led investigators to several stores, including an REI in Asheville, where Estes allegedly purchased the backpack. He paid in cash but used an REI membership number when paying, police said. Estes was arrested Oct. 7.
Estes faces charges for attempted malicious use of explosive materials and unlawful possession of explosive materials in an airport.
He reportedly told FBI agents he bought the materials to make the explosive because he was "ready to fight a war on U.S. soil."