A UC Davis researcher, injured in an explosion that rocked his campus apartment early Thursday, was arrested Saturday on multiple charges in the blast that forced evacuation of five university housing buildings.
David Snyder, 32, was being held Saturday night in lieu of $2 million bail as UC Davis police, a Yolo County bomb squad and other agencies try to unravel the mystery of why Snyder's campus apartment contained alleged bomb-making materials as well as completed compounds said to be suitable for detonation.
But UC Davis Police Chief Matt Carmichael said in a news conference Saturday night that there is no evidence Snyder, a Ph.D chemist working as a junior researcher in a campus lab, was planning an act of violence or represented a danger to anyone other than himself.
"There is currently no evidence to suggest that Mr. Snyder was planning any event on campus or in the community," Carmichael said.
Snyder, who received his doctorate from UC Davis in 2011 and earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry from the university in 2004, was the only one hurt in the 1 a.m. explosion in an apartment at the Russell Park complex on the west side of campus.
He left the apartment, bleeding from hand injuries, and checked into Sutter Davis Hospital which later notified police.
Carmichael said Snyder, who is still under medical care, was arrested on felony charges of possessing an explosive, possessing materials with intent to manufacture an explosive device and possession of firearms on campus.
Authorities wouldn't reveal what the explosive materials were nor the type of firearms in Snyder's apartment though Carmichael said the researcher wasn't in possession of anything that would constitute an "assault weapon."
The blast, which caused only minor damage to Snyder's apartment, forced the evacuation of 40 other housing units in five buildings, home to 74 people, including postdoctoral students, spouses and children.
For 20 hours afterward, bomb squads from the Yolo, Placer and El Dorado sheriff's departments, Sacramento police and the California Highway Patrol worked to ensure the safety of the apartment and removed potentially dangerous chemicals and compounds. They were assisted by the FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
"I would say there were significant concerns for public safety in the area," said Commander Nick Concolino of the Yolo County bomb squad. He said Snyder "did possess the materials necessary and had, obviously, the intent to make an explosive."
Authorities Saturday night wouldn't describe what chemical materials were found in Snyder's apartment nor detail what caused the blast or what Snyder was doing at the time.
Concolino said the materials ranged from common household products that could be used in detonation materials to "mixtures that were completed explosives."
"We're talking about chemical materials that were primary explosives and also secondary explosives," said Concolino, who said authorities are trying to find out why Snyder possessed the materials and what he intended to do with them.
"The motivation is part of the investigation," he said.
Authorities wouldn't discuss how or where they believe Snyder obtained the materials.
Following the apartment explosion, authorities disposed and neutralized unsafe chemicals in an open area east of the UC Davis campus. Concolino said there "is no toxic danger" from the materials that were destroyed "in a prescribed manner."
University officials said Snyder has been placed on leave from his temporary job at a campus chemistry lab. His two-month appointment was set to expire Jan. 31. Before his current assignment, Snyder held a one-year research appointment through UC San Francisco that allowed him to work at UC Davis.
Carmichael said in a statement that authorities had no information Snyder was "plotting some broader crime." He said authorities were "relieved that the explosion was not worse and that no members of our community other than Snyder were injured."
The UC Davis police chief told reporters, "This investigation is comprehensive and we're working on everything."
Authorities would not say where Snyder was held Saturday night. They said he would be booked into Yolo County jail and arraigned in Yolo Superior Court once he sufficiently recovers from blast injuries. Authorities declined to offer details on the injuries.