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Press Release

Man Who Possessed Pipe Bomb in Hospital Parking Garage Sentenced to Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Texas

AUSTIN, Texas – A Jonestown man was sentenced in a federal court in Austin to 30 months in prison for possessing an unregistered destructive device, namely a pipe bomb, that detonated in a hospital parking garage.

According to court documents, Raymond Luke Garner, 39, parked his pickup truck in a parking garage at St. David’s Hospital in Austin on Aug. 9, 2023. A short time later, there was an explosion in the back of Garner’s truck. Investigators found the remains of a pipe bomb near the truck. They also found a quantity of a homemade high explosive, circuit boards/timers, electric matches, and other items.

While detained by police, Garner contacted another individual to ask that person to move a box out of Garner’s home. That box was later found to contain, among other things, a quantity of the high explosive, precursor chemicals, and electric matches. Searches at other locations revealed a recipe for the high explosive, remote control devices, and other components for destructive devices.

Garner pleaded guilty on Oct. 2, 2023.

“The law prohibits the possession of unregistered homemade pipe bombs for a good reason: they put the community at serious risk,” said U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza for the Western District of Texas. “I appreciate the collaboration of our federal, state and local law enforcement partners in this investigation. Rest assured my office will hold accountable individuals who build and possess these devices in violation of the law.”

“Improvised explosive devices are illegal and extremely dangerous,” said Special Agent in Charge Mike Weddel for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Houston Division. “ATF is committed to investigating and holding accountable the persons responsible for explosives accidents involving the manufacture of illegal explosive devices which can result in serious injury, death, and extensive damage to property. This incident serves as a prime example of the successful collaboration between all our law enforcement partners.”

“Garner’s use of unregistered and unstable explosive material jeopardized the safety of individuals who may have been near his vehicle,” said Special Agent in Charge Aaron Tapp of the FBI's San Antonio Field Office. “We are grateful to our partners at the ATF, members of our Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the Austin and Cedar Park Police Departments, for their vigilant work to keep our communities safe."

The ATF and FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force led the investigation with valuable assistance from the Travis County Sheriff’s Office, Austin Police Department, Austin Fire Department, and Cedar Park Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney G. Karthik Srinivasan prosecuted the case.


Updated March 15, 2024

Firearms Offenses