UCD Researcher Arrested in Explosion Case

explosivesDavid Snyder, 32, was booked into the Yolo County Jail on Sunday, following his arrest on possessing explosives and materials with the intent to make a destructive device, and possessing firearms on campus, UC Davis announced on Sunday.  Bail is set at two million dollars.

Mr. Snyder, a UC Davis junior researcher in a campus chemistry lab, with a two-month appointment that expires on January 31, is being held in connection with a January 17 explosion in an apartment in the Russell Park housing complex on campus.  He has been placed on leave, pending investigation.

“While we have no information to suggest that Mr. Snyder was plotting some broader crime on the campus, in today’s environment the potential safety risk to the community must be taken extremely seriously,” said UC Davis Police Chief Matt Carmichael.

“We are relieved that the explosion was not worse and that no members of our community other than Snyder were injured,” he said.

According to officials, following the explosion, campus police searched Mr. Snyder’s apartment and discovered materials that can be used in making bombs, along with firearms. Some of the chemicals were found to be unsafe and were disposed of in an open area west of campus.

Mr. Snyder was specifically charged with felony violations of California Penal Code §18715, possession of an explosive, and California Penal Code §18720, possession of any substance, material, or any combination of substances or materials, with the intent to make any destructive device or any explosive. He was also charged with two counts of possessing a firearm on campus, Penal Code §626.9(i).

Police are continuing to investigate the case and more charges may follow.

Mr. Snyder received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from UC Davis in 2004 and a Ph.D., also in chemistry, in December 2011. After earning his doctorate, he held a temporary one-year research appointment through UCSF that allowed him to work at UC Davis. That position ended in November. His current temporary job with UC Davis began in December.

UC Davis officials said that Mr. Snyder left his apartment following the 1 a.m. explosion, bleeding from hand injuries.  When he checked  into Sutter Davis Hospital, police were notified.

The blast forced the evacuation of a number of housing units where about 74 people reside, but caused only minor damage to the apartment.

Chief Carmichael and other authorities would not reveal the type of explosive materials or firearms that were discovered in his apartment, however the chief did tell reporters that Mr. Snyder was not in possession of any item that might be considered an assault weapon.

Authorities from all over the region worked in concert to remove dangerous chemicals from the scene.

Residents nearby reported hearing loud explosions on Thursday night.  These apparently were measures to dispose of materials taken from the apartment earlier that day.

“I would say there were significant concerns for public safety in the area,” said Commander Nick Concolino of the Yolo County bomb squad.

He told reporters that Mr. Snyder “did possess the materials necessary and had, obviously, the intent to make an explosive.”

According to Mr. Concolino, these materials ranged from common household products to mixtures that were completed explosives.

“We’re talking about chemical materials that were primary explosives and also secondary explosives,” said Mr. Concolino

“The motivation is part of the investigation,” he added.

Chief Carmichael added that the investigation is a comprehensive one, and they are looking into everything.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. rusty49

    Many people were inconvenienced because of this. The cost of police, firefighters, people put out of their homes and a preschool had to be closed for the day causing parents to leave work and scramble for alternative care. When someone does something like this they should be held liable for all the costs and nuisance they caused and forced to pay restitution. If they don’t have the means now then garnish their future wages.

  2. SouthofDavis

    rusty49 wrote:

    > Many people were inconvenienced because of this.
    > When someone does something like this they should
    > be held liable for all the costs and nuisance they
    > caused and forced to pay restitution.

    I’m basically OK with this, but I worry that many people will unfairly be stuck with huge bills when government overreacts… If a kid has a M80 or shotgun shell in his pocket and the cops decide to evacuate the UCD campus does he owe $1 million?

    When I was in High School a car making a turn hit me when I was on my bike. It was not a big deal and I was ready to get up and keep going home, but someone called 911 and the next thing you know we had two cop cars a fire truck and an fire department ambulance on the scene.

    After about an hour of telling everyone I was fine and convincing them I didn’t have a concussion (almost no one wore real bike helmets in the 70’s) they let me go and the army of public employees opened up the street again and went back to their stations and I rode home…

  3. Rifkin

    Once this story was fully reported, it solved a mystery for me: I was awake late Thursday night/early Friday (after midnight), when, every 10 minutes or so, I could hear loud explosions. I live about a half-mile from Russell Park, but I also live a half block from Highway 113. I assumed the first sounds were trucks backfiring. But coming at regular intervals made no sense. I went out into my frontyard to see if maybe shots had been fired in my neighborhood and all appeared normal. After the third or fourth round of explosions, I looked in my backyard toward Willett Elementary to see if the noises were coming from there.

    I didn’t know that the Yolo County Bomb Squad was outside Russell Park blowing up this idiot’s arsenal of explosive chemicals until The Enterprise explained the source of those noises.

    As to punishing Mr. Snyder: He obviously showed terrible judgment, even if he had no malicious intent. The real crime in my opinion is endangering his neighbors in nearby apartments.

    Not very far from Russell Park a (somewhat) similar case took place at the Tercero dorms about 5 years ago, when Mark Christopher Woods was arrested ([url]http://daviswiki.org/Mark_Woods[/url]) for having dangerous chemicals in his dorm room. I know that Woods was kicked out of school. He was 19 years old when that happened. I wonder where the 24-year-old Woods is today.

  4. SouthofDavis

    Rich posted a link to the Davis Wiki story on Mark Woods and wrote:

    > I wonder where the 24-year-old Woods is today.

    The Davis Wiki said:

    “He was eventually readmitted and was a senior chemistry major as of Spring 2012.”

    I wonder if Mark had David as a chemistry professor?

  5. Rifkin

    Based on the news accounts, I don’t think David Snyder actually is a “professor” or any sort of classroom instructor. I think, rather, he is a post-doc researcher, probably under the guidance of a senior chemistry professor.

  6. jimt

    “While we have no information to suggest that Mr. Snyder was plotting some broader crime on the campus, in today’s environment the potential safety risk to the community must be taken extremely seriously,”

    Hopefully they will do an exhaustive, thorough investigation of this guys contacts–all his phone, computer, and electronic records on all electronic devices for past several years; and question the neighbors and campus co-workers about his behavior and contacts. Who knows what is going on? Making explosives in your apartment unit is beyond ordinary everyday irresponsibility and bad judgement; it is plain out nutty and/or malicious.

  7. AdRemmer

    David wrote: [quote]Some of that would be covered under a standard restitution claim[/quote]

    David, as you clearly noted in the “Restorative Justice article,” you are no expert. Here again, you demonstrate your ignorance.

    Direct Resitution is a legal doctrine for VICTIMS of crime who suffered harmed by the criminal act(s)of the offender.

    How does inconvenience to nearby residents make them “victims” of the crimes, for which Snyder was “ARRESTED,” namely possession?

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