ATF, Military Called Out To Defuse East Texas Sparkler Bomb

Two young East Texas women -- 25-year-old Candice Harris and 29-year-old Heather Horn, both of Bronson, Texas -- are charged with felonies after authorities caught them earlier this week with what they are branding as dangerous incendiary devices.

According to TV station KLTV, police in southeastern San Augustine County responded to a report of a vehicle being driven erratically down a rural road in the wee hours of this past Tuesday. The driver and several other occupants managed to elude deputies and abandon the vehicle, but the posse soon rounded them all up. When the dust had settled, in addition to the two women, a juvenile was also arrested. (Harris's brother was also detained, but all charges against him were soon dropped.)

When the cops turned their attention to the vehicle, they made a discovery they considered so chilling, so potentially lethal and fraught with doom, they felt they had no choice other than to radio for bomb experts from both the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and a crack Hurt Locker-style team from Barksdale Air Force Base just across the Sabine River in Shreveport, Louisiana.

What was it? A dirty bomb? A carelessly secured barrel of volatile meth components? A vial of Charlie Sheen's manly essence? A jug of good old-fashioned East Texas "mighty, mighty pleasin', pappy's corn squeezin'"?

Nope. It was a few bundles of common sparklers taped together and fused to go off at the same time.

San Augustine County Chief Deputy Gary Cunningham gravely told KLTV that this was no mere case of country boys and girls just trying to have a good time. Evidently with a straight face, he claimed that somebody could have been killed.

"In some circles it may be a childish prank, but it's a bomb," Cunningham said. "It can damage property and inflict serious bodily injury. The ATF takes it very seriously and so do we."

The sparkler bombs were safely defused by the Feds and the Flyboys, but Harris and Horn are charged with possessing a prohibited weapon, a third-degree felony that could bring them two to ten years in prison.

Perhaps in Guantanamo, if this case continues to be prosecuted as overzealously as it has up to now.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
John Nova Lomax
Contact: John Nova Lomax