Suspect wanted to 'fight a war on US soil,' planted bomb in airp - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Suspect wanted to 'fight a war on US soil,' planted bomb in airport

Michael Estes allegedly placed a bag filled with explosives in the terminal lobby of the Asheville, NC airport. (Source: Asheville Police Dept.) Michael Estes allegedly placed a bag filled with explosives in the terminal lobby of the Asheville, NC airport. (Source: Asheville Police Dept.)

ASHEVILLE, NC (WLOS/WSOC/CNN) - A North Carolina man remains in jail after admitting to leaving an explosive device at the Asheville Regional Airport last week.

Investigators say Michael Estes left a bomb near the terminal entrance - before TSA security checkpoints - at the Asheville airport because he said he wanted to “fight a war on U.S. soil.”

Estes, 46, is charged in federal court with attempted malicious use of explosive materials and unlawful possession of explosive materials in an airport. He waived his right for a preliminary hearing, and the judge assigned him a lawyer.

The bomb consisted of a mason jar filled with explosive chemicals and nails. Estes said he had tried to set it to detonate at 6 a.m. when morning travelers were arriving at the airport, but he didn’t set the alarm clock that would have triggered the device.

No one was injured in the incident, but the airport's Terminal Drive and part of a terminal were shut down for a few hours.

An airport maintenance worker reported seeing a man walking out of the woods near the airport.

FBI agents found a backpack in the woods with items consistent with those used in the explosive device. Investigation into the backpack led police to Estes, who was arrested Sunday. Estes admitted in court to using the woods as a staging area.

Security expert Walter Kimble says the small amount of ingredients, though used in the past to make bombs, are legal to buy and wouldn't set off any red flags when purchased in small amounts.

However, Kimble said if the bomb had detonated, it would’ve caused injuries to anyone in the vicinity.

Kimble stresses how important it is for travelers to be aware of their surroundings and that airports need to rely on their first lines of defense.

"We have fences around the airport, periodic police patrols, the area is well lit," he said.

But since there's no actual security checkpoint to get into the terminal lobby, he says police rely on video cameras to watch what people are doing.

More importantly, passengers need to pay attention to what others are doing and if it looks suspicious.

After what happened in Asheville, Kimble said that all airports are likely taking a second look at how they secure and monitor terminal lobbies.

"And we need to reinforce once again, if you see something, say something," he said.

Copyright 2017 WLOS, WSOC, Asheville Police Department via CNN. All rights reserved.

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