SHILOH, IL (KTVI) – An active duty airman man is charged with possession of three pipe bombs. According to the criminal complaint, his goal was, “to inflict as many casualties as possible.”
Twenty-four year-old Justin VanGilder works at Scott Air Force Base. The complaint states that he was suicidal, but didn’t only want to kill himself. The Shiloh resident specifically wanted to detonate these bombs to kill child molesters. And he already had some local addresses.
This all started on Thursday, when a witness told authorities that while he was visiting VanGilder at his home on Twin Oaks Drive, the 24 year-old pulled three pipe bombs out of a briefcase, along with bomb-making equipment.
Later that day, the FBI, along with U.S. Air Force investigators, quickly evacuated surrounding houses, searched VanGilder’s home, and safely disposed of the bombs.
U.S. Attorney Steven Wigginton explains, “They’re basically IED’s, improvised explosive devices, and they can be quite lethal as we’ve seen and experienced as a nation with the casualties and fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
VanGilder made these wartime explosives right at home. The report states he’d made two of them six years ago, and was saving them for the right moment. “They’re packed with explosive material, along with shrapnel, razor blades, metal balls, anything can inflict damage on the human body,” says Wigginton, “Unfortunately they are easy to make, and that’s a real threat.”
“I didn’t expect anything like that to be going on around here,” says neighbor Bobby Dancy. But another neighbor, Jim Marshbank, has a hunch why it would: “I think sometimes people pick nice neighborhoods where you never see police cars go up and down the streets, and they pick those areas because they’re looking to stay quiet and not draw attention.”
VanGilder is charged with three counts of Possession of an Unregistered Destructive Device. He could be sentenced up to 10 years in prison, along with a fine and period of supervised release. VanGilder is in federal custody, with an arraignment scheduled for Monday.
The Probable Cause Statement from police is posted below: