Man attempts to detonate vehicle bomb near 1995 Oklahoma City bombing memorial

Geneva Matthews
August 15, 2017

The FBI has arrested an Oklahoma man on charges that he tried to detonate what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb outside a bank, acting out of a hatred for the USA government and an admiration for Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, according to court papers.

Jerry Varnell, 23, was arrested Saturday after attempting to trigger what he thought was an ammonium nitrate fertilizer bomb - like McVeigh's - outside a BancFirst branch in the center of the city, according to a criminal complaint filed in Oklahoma district court.

Federal officials arrested Varnell early Saturday in connection with a plot to detonate a vehicle bomb in an alley adjacent to BancFirst in downtown Oklahoma City.

"That's the kind of shit I want to fucking do, it's time to do that kind of fucking shit", Varnell said in a conversation with an Federal Bureau of Investigation source and an undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, as quoted in the complaint.

Narfis was charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction when he parked a van outside the Federal Reserve Bank that he thought was laden with 1,000 pounds of explosives and tried to detonate it using his cell phone.

Varnell told investigators he supported the far-right "III%ers" anti-government movement and wanted to form his own armed militia.

A criminal complaint says Varnell told undercover investigators he sympathizes with "III% ideology", which pledges resistance to the US government and wanted to use a device similar to the one that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people.

The grumbling says Varnell collected the gadget and load it into what he accepted was a stolen van.

Bujanda alleged Varnell holds an "anti-government" ideology, as evidenced in part by his posts on Facebook and conversations with an undercover agent. Varnell's actions were monitored closely for months as the plot developed.

Varnell described his plans for the bomb and how it would work, telling the source he wanted to "go with what the OKC bomber used" but that he planned to set it off at night to avoid mass casualties, according to the complaint.

"What happened in Oklahoma City was not an attack on America, it was retaliation", he later said.

"Well I don't wanna kill a bunch of people", Varnell said, according to the affidavit.

If convicted, authorities say Varnell could face a maximum of 20 years in prison and no less than five years.

U.S. Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma says it's chilling that someone would want to commit an act of terror in Oklahoma City as a tribute to the deadly 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

Varnell also said at that meeting he was inspired by the movie "Fight Club", saying he wanted to perform similar acts and had already begun experimenting with homemade bombs. "The time for revolution is now".

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