An attempted bomb threat by a domestic terrorist was averted Saturday morning by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
A spokesman for the FBI said Jerry Varnell was arrested at approximately 1 a.m. August 12, ”after he attempted to detonate what he believed to be an explosives-laden van he had parked in an alley next to BancFirst.”
Varnell was be arrested for the “malicious attempted destruction of a building used in and affecting interstate commerce by means of an explosive.”
Officials said Varnell wanted to blow up the Federal Reserve Building in a way similar to what Timothy McVeigh did in 1995.
The complaint said that a person known as CHS-1, a Confidential Human Source, claimed Varnell had a bunker for when the United States ‘collapsed,” and that Varnell was in the process of outfitting the bunker with supplies.
Some of these supplies were to create a ‘team.’ Varnell, officials said, told CHS-1 that he was “ out for blood. When militias start getting formed i’m going after government officials when I have a team.”
Varnell reportedly wanted to have enough “‘ammonium-nitrate’ for a bomb big enough for a five story building.”
Officials at BancFirst said they were cooperating with the FBI and that at no time were employees, customers or the general public in any danger.
“We believe our BancFirst downtown Oklahoma City building was a random and convenient selection by the suspect,” the company’s statement said. “There is no further threat or reason for concern. We take comfort and our company embraces a deep appreciation and admiration for the men and women of the FBI for their diligent and dedicated work in protecting our nation.”
Justin S, Oklahoma City, who preferred not to share his last name or title, was relieved to find his workplace hadn’t been destroyed over the weekend.
“I think [Varnell’s plans] were horrible. I work very close to the Murrah building, and I was in the 8th grade when [the Murrah Bombing] happened,” he said. “To think that we still have domestic terrorists out there is concerning.”
The Murrah Building bombing, which Varnell attempted to imitate, killed 168 people including several children, in Downtown Oklahoma City. In the complaint against him, Varnell said he did not want to hurt anyone, but rather to show his extreme disgust for the American government.
He’s still in police custody, and if convicted could face up to 20 years in prison.