The Secret Service arrested a man Wednesday for allegedly threatening President Clinton’s life and confiscated a package believed to contain an explosive device.
Later, at least four explosions were heard by reporters kept at bay as bomb experts detonated confiscated devices, but it could not immediately be confirmed if they included the materials seized.
David Shane Shelby, 29, was arrested without incident at 11 a.m. at a commercial mail drop in Ogden, about 35 miles north of Salt Lake City. He was charged in a federal warrant issued in Indianapolis with threatening to kill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore in separate letters mailed to each on Dec. 7 from Bloomington, Ind.
“At the time of Shelby’s arrest, agents recovered a package, addressed to President Clinton, purported to contain an explosive device,” said Dennis Crandall, Secret Service agent in charge of the Salt Lake office.
Whether it was a real bomb “is still being resolved” by technicians from Tooele Army Depot, he said.
An Ogden police officer who would not give his name said Shelby told authorities his truck was loaded with gunpowder and guns.
His letter to Clinton said: “I hate you. … Turn Charles Manson loose or I will kill you,” according to court documents.
The letter to Gore said, “You are a poor vice president. Appoint Charles Tex Watson as your successor or I will kill you in a violent homosexual manner.”
Watson and Manson were among several people convicted in the 1969 deaths of actress Sharon Tate and her friends, as well as the murders of a couple at their Southern California home.
The letters to Clinton and Gore were signed “David Shelby.”
A handwriting expert from the Secret Service compared the writing on the letters and on fingerprint cards on file and determined the letters were written by Shelby, according to a probable cause statement.
If convicted of the two counts, Shelby would face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.