Suspect released in Kansas Capitol case
Friday, February 17, 2012
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A man whose pickup was found to contain homemade bombs near the Kansas Statehouse has been released from custody but still could face criminal charges, a Capitol Police spokesman said Thursday.
The Kansas Highway Patrol, which operates the Capitol Police, planned to discuss possible criminal charges by early next week with Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor, police spokesman Patrick Saleh said.
Taylor told The Associated Press his office is meeting this morning with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to discuss the case.
Saleh said the owner of the pickup remains a suspect in the incident Wednesday but was released late Wednesday after being detained by the Capitol Police and questioned by the Highway Patrol and the Topeka Police Department. He’d last been in custody at the Topeka police headquarters, and authorities were not releasing his name to protect his privacy.
The man has a home in Topeka but a Florida’s driver’s license, and the pickup had a Florida license plate. Saleh said officers from multiple law enforcement agencies searched the man’s home Wednesday and seized items “associated with the explosive devices found in his truck,” but would not elaborate.
Saleh said authorities don’t believe there’s a danger the man will flee from the area but would not discuss why or the reasons behind the man’s release, only that the decision was made based on what the man said in interviews. Saleh would not say whether the man was under surveillance.
“We have everything that would cause concern in the world in our possession at this time,” Saleh told The Associated Press. “We do not see him as a flight risk.”
Police in Topeka detained the pickup’s owner and another man Wednesday in what authorities described as unrelated incidents involving potential threats against the Statehouse. The second involved an allegedly threatening phone call to Gov. Sam Brownback’s office.
The pickup with the homemade bombs was found in a parking lot for the Kansas Judicial Center, across the street from the Statehouse. Officers detained the owner in an underground tunnel linking the Statehouse and a state office building.