chianson Federal Judge Orders Plano Explosion Suspect Held Without Bail

Anson Chi. (Credit: Collin County)

SHERMAN (CBSDFW.COM) – A federal judge on Friday ordered the suspect accused of setting off an explosion while tampering with a natural gas main should be held without bail.

Plano residents like Valerie Russell who live near Plano bombing suspect Anson Chi are relieved to hear he won’t be getting out of jail anytime soon.

“That’s really comforting,” Russell said.

Chi waved to CBS 11 News cameras Friday on his way to the federal court hearing.

Chi’s parents covered their faces and seemed embarrassed as they left court after the hearing, which offered new details about their son. When asked if they were you surprised by their son’s alleged activities, they didn’t answer.

An FBI agent testified Chi admitted that before midnight June 18 that he placed a bottle of explosive metal nitrate he made at home on top of a natural gas main on Parker Road in Plano.

The agent said Chi told authorities it exploded before he thought it would, seriously injuring his eyes, arms and hands in the process.

The agent told the judge Chi apologized several times and admitted he lied to investigators at first. In court, Chi called it an accidental explosion.

But according to the agent, Chi admitted he wanted to set-off another device with nitroglycerin, which is also an explosive.

“That’s kind of scary since he was living so close, he’s using those chemicals and cooking up all those things,” Russell said. “Something could go wrong and it could really affect the neighborhood.”

The FBI agent mentioned a YouTube video in which Chi spoke out against the IRS. As for a motive, the agent said Chi told him he was tired of the armchair activists and that he wanted to prove he’s a real activist.

In court, Chi’s mother said she didn’t know he had dangerous chemicals in their house, and thought one of the liquids was wine and that he was cooking soup.

Chi’s mom quoted her son as saying, “Jesus cannot save the world, I can save the world.”

That angers Valerie Russell.

“Blowing people up isn’t saving the world, it’s just destroying it more,” she said.

According to police, Chi had five guns inside his house.

Chi’s father testified he and his son often argued and that one time he called the police.

“I was so afraid he’d take the gun and point it at me,” Chi’s father said. “He goes a little bit wild and angry.”

Russell said, “To know there were that many guns in the house, that’s scary too.”

In court, Chi took the stand, and spoke clearly about his injuries.

He says he has limited vision left in both eyes, and that he has difficulty moving and feeling his fingers and using his hands. While Chi and his family came to court to convince a judge to release him, in the end Chi surprised the judge.

Chi said he’d rather live in the Collin County jail than at his house because doing so would endanger his parents.

Chi accused the media of vilifying and ostracizing him as a terrorist.

In the end, the judge ruled Chi is a danger to the community and shouldn’t be released.

“There was plenty of evidence shown to the court that he was a daner to the community, and I think detaining him would benefit the community at this time,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Stover.

Chi’s attorney, Robert Arrambide, declined comment.

Even though Chi is being held in custody, a federal grand jury has still not formally indicted him in the case.