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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 3/21/2006 8:31:28 PM EDT
Man had grenades, rifle near path, police say
Gunfire draws officers to bike trail, where they arrest 18-year-old who wants to be Army Ranger

By JORDAN CARLEO-EVANGELIST, Staff writer
First published: Tuesday, March 21, 2006

COLONIE A Colonie man carrying two homemade hand grenades built from parts purchased over the Internet was arrested Sunday while holding a rifle near the town bike path, police said.
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Brian P. Sweeney, 18, who family members said has a dream of becoming an Army Ranger, was firing his military-style rifle into the ground and "pointing it in the direction of the homes" on nearby Heritage Court, according to his arrest report.

Town police patrolling on all-terrain vehicles said they were drawn to the wooded area, just south of the town landfill, by the sound of "rapid-fire gunshots."

Sweeney was being held without bail Monday in Albany County jail as authorities investigate why he allegedly had the explosives.

He works as a cook in the family business, is not in school and has applied to enlist in the Army, his father said.

"What his mind-set was beyond yesterday, I have no idea," said Colonie Police Lt. John Van Alstyne.

But Sweeney's father described him as a curious, hard-working young man whose well-intentioned desire to prepare himself to fight for his country might have led him astray.

"Our son is not a danger to anyone," said Thomas Sweeney. "He was dabbling into something he shouldn't have been ... but all the things Brian has, he has because he was preparing to become a good soldier."

He said he bought the rifle for his son at a North Troy gun shop in October because the clerk told him it was just like the one he would use in the Army, only newer.

Thomas Sweeney said his son took the rifle without his knowledge Sunday and was trying to find a safe place to fire it, ultimately choosing a gully in the woods.

As the officers closed in on the source of the gunfire, they encountered Sweeney with his rifle, several magazines of ammunition and the explosives, Van Alstyne said.

Officers Stephen Donovan and Guy Jubert Jr. shouted orders to Sweeney, who complied and told police he was "just shooting" in the woods, according to statements attributed to him by police and filed in town court.

Asked if he had any weapons other than the rifle, Sweeney allegedly replied: "You're not going to like these" and produced from his vest two plastic bags with the grenades, according to court records.

Later, in a written statement signed by Sweeney, he explained to investigators how, starting in September, he bought inert grenade shells on the Internet with his mother's credit card and modified them with common tools and legal ammunition to build the bombs.

The pineapple grenade hulls are not explosive by themselves and are similar to what can be found in a military surplus store, authorities said.

Sweeney explained to police how he tested the first batch of explosives behind his house last fall, and they were powerful enough to break bricks and blow a hole in the ground.

He told police he planned to detonate the two explosives in the woods Sunday.

Sweeney's rifle, described as an semi-automatic AR-15, was a legal weapon, said John Morgan, resident agent in charge of the Albany office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Morgan said his office is working with town police to decide whether Sweeney should also be charged in federal court.

Van Alstyne said additional state weapons charges stemming from searches of Sweeney's Fonda Road home are likely, though he declined to characterize what was seized.

The family never knew Sweeney had been building the explosives, his father said. Now he said he worries authorities will mistake his son for someone with more sinister intentions.

"Whatever their profile says, it's not Brian," Thomas Sweeney said. "We don't want him to be villainized. ... He had no intention to harm anyone."

*************************************­****************************************
<­BR>Ya know, as potentially 'harmful' making grenades in one's house...and then using them (dangerous/against the law), even in the woods - I'm kind of in agreement with the father on this one.

Doesnt seem, the 18yr old intended to hurt anyone - honestly...with all the shit I used to blow up when I was a kid , I'm kinda shocked I still have my fingers. Never had the intention myself to hurt anyone...and making M80 BB grenades was kinda fun . Heres the kicker - if I hurt myself, It was gonna be my own fault! Something our fuckstick politicians across the country forget to realize.

Good to see the Albany Branch of the ATF did their homework, and acknowledged that the AR is legal. Kinda curious as to what else the fella had - more grenade hulls....or something even more sinister - RELOADING SUPPLIES!!!!!

Your thoughts? I say, let the kid go with probation, allow him to enlist in the Military and God Bless him and his military career.
Link Posted: 3/21/2006 9:22:32 PM EDT

Originally Posted By HKgnnr:
Brian P. Sweeney, 18, who family members said has a dream of becoming an Army Ranger, was firing his military-style rifle into the ground and "pointing it in the direction of the homes" on nearby Heritage Court, according to his arrest report.



sounds like he's putting people at risk other than himself.
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 2:39:07 AM EDT

"What his mind-set was beyond yesterday, I have no idea," said Colonie Police Lt. John Van Alstyne.


His mindset was, "I'm 18 years old."

Not quite to the age where you think everything through ahead of time. Not to say 'young adults' don't mature at different rates.

Seriously though, how many 18 year old males wouldn't jump at the chance to blow something up or shoot a rifle.

At least the article didn't call the AR an 'assault weapon' or the grenades 'IEDs'.
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 4:12:51 AM EDT
When I was about 14 I almost blew off the side of my face, a few fingers and the verandah of my home in Kingston, Jamaica while attempting to perfect a nice batch of firecrackers with more power than an M4.

People heard the BOOM as far as 1 mile away.


Link Posted: 3/22/2006 5:03:10 AM EDT
Sounds a lot like stuff myself and friends did as kids.
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 5:43:19 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 5:51:36 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/22/2006 5:54:00 AM EDT by HKgnnr]

Originally Posted By fossil_fuel:

Originally Posted By HKgnnr:
Brian P. Sweeney, 18, who family members said has a dream of becoming an Army Ranger, was firing his military-style rifle into the ground and "pointing it in the direction of the homes" on nearby Heritage Court, according to his arrest report.



sounds like he's putting people at risk other than himself.



True in a sense, and not knowing exactly where he was shooting makes me wonder if in fact if he was actually "aiming/pointing" towards houses or there were houses beyond the woods/ditch.

My guess, if he actually took a walk into the woods to find a place to shoot instead of blasting out the back door of his house - its the latter.

No matter where any of us shoot - there are houses downrange in one sense or another. State law dictates, 500 feet from anothers residence - nothing about towards the direction if that makes a difference.
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 6:01:55 AM EDT
Dumb ass kid.
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 6:12:56 AM EDT

Originally Posted By rkbar15:
Dumb ass kid.



Yeah, not exactly a smart thing to do. However, I had plenty of fun with firecrackers and such when I was a kid, and nobody really cared. We certainly live in a different time...
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 6:14:46 AM EDT

was firing his military-style rifle into the ground and "pointing it in the direction of the homes" on nearby Heritage Court, according to his arrest report.


I take this with a grain of salt too. Arrest reports can say anything, and usually do when it's time to villainize guns and gunowners. Heck, I bet any shooting range or club has a range with houses technically downrange. Yeah, maybe they're 5 or 10 miles away, but they're downrange. Sounds like the kid was purposefully doing this in an area where he wouldn't endanger others. He should have known better though... he lives in a state where it's virtually a felony to look at someone funny.
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 6:42:25 AM EDT
From the article it appears he was not charged with any firearms violations. If he was my son and building explosive devices that he admitted to testing in the back yard being arrested would be the least of his problems.

In any case he's fooked now as far as his Army career is concerned.
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 6:43:37 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/22/2006 6:45:57 AM EDT by HKgnnr]
UPDATE - From todays paper
timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=463423&category=ALBANY&BCCode=HOME&newsdate=3/22/2006

Police widen grenade case
Authorities seize silencers and military equipment from home

By JORDAN CARLEO-EVANGELIST, Staff writer
First published: Wednesday, March 22, 2006

COLONIE -- Hours after police arrested a man in the woods with two homemade grenades and a rifle on Sunday, authorities seized illegal gun silencers and other military equipment from his Latham home, police said.
Brian P. Sweeney, 18, faces additional weapons charges when he appears in court tonight because it's a felony in New York to possess a firearm silencer, investigators said.

Sweeney's family contends he's just a dedicated young man driven by curiosity about the military and a hope to one day serve as an Army Ranger, not the type who would intentionally hurt others.

And while authorities refused to speculate Tuesday about Sweeney's plans for the explosives, they revealed more about what they found while searching Sweeney's Fonda Road home: an armored helmet, several silencers and a handgun.

The silencers, which muffle the sound of gunfire, are illegal under the same law that make it a felony to possess the grenades that Sweeney allegedly built from components purchased on the Internet, said Lt. John Van Alstyne, a Colonie police spokesman.

Van Alstyne said it is not illegal to have a bullet-resistant Kevlar helmet, which was seized.

Sweeney, a cook in his family's business, was arrested Sunday afternoon when two police officers patrolling on newly acquired all-terrain vehicles were drawn to the wooded area between the town bike path and Heritage Court by the sound rapid gunfire.

They allegedly found Sweeney firing into the ground and pointing what authorities described as a Colt AR-15 semi-automatic rifle in the direction of nearby homes.

Van Alstyne said police have found no evidence Sweeney tried to illegally alter the weapon.

In addition to the rifle, which is legal, and several 30-round magazines, Sweeney produced two homemade fragmentation grenades that he told police he planned detonate in the woods.

He told police he had built other grenades several months ago, powerful enough to break bricks and blow a hole in the ground.

According to court records, Sweeney cooperated with police and told them he was just target shooting in the woods.

"At some point I think we'll be comfortable labeling it one way or another," Van Alstyne said.

Authorities also took a computer from Sweeney's home, and town police are working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to determine whether he should also be charged in federal court.

Sweeney is scheduled to appear tonight in Town Court and remains in Albany County jail without bail at least until then.

Right now, Sweeney is charged in connection with the two explosives he had Sunday. But he might also face charges for firing his rifle close enough to the new homes on Heritage Court to pose a danger, Van Alstyne said.

Sweeney's father said he bought him the rifle in a North Troy gun shop last fall because it was similar to the one he would eventually carry in the military.

Meanwhile, Police Chief Steven Heider praised the results of the department's all-terrain vehicle program started last year.

"This is one of the prime examples of why we got them in the first place," Heider said, adding that illegal hunting and target shooting are not unusual in the town. "Neighbors are concerned. They hear gunshots, they don't know where they're coming from."

*************************************­***************************************
Hmmmmm - Silencers (now that was stupid) - grabbed his computer too.

Wave "Hi" to the Investigators fellas!




Link Posted: 3/22/2006 6:49:50 AM EDT
Thanks for the update.

Double dumb ass kid.
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 7:16:32 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 10:46:13 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 12:04:56 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 12:38:59 PM EDT
wow. what an idiot... i hope they don't throw the book at him too hard though. He might actually make a good grunt one day...
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 12:45:40 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 0612Devil:
wow. what an idiot... i hope they don't throw the book at him too hard though. He might actually make a good grunt one day...


Yeah, but in WHOSE army when he gets his butt outta jail?
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 1:59:51 PM EDT
dumb@ss
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 3:02:09 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 3:05:02 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/22/2006 3:05:35 PM EDT by FMJunkie]
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 5:10:19 PM EDT
I'm sure the Army will still take him
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 7:16:05 PM EDT
let me get this strait .. hes being charged with explosives charges .. silencer charges .. and possibly .. eventually .. either discharging a firearm within city limits .. or discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling ... right ?
i think the 1st 2 charges are the worst .. but mainly the silencer issue will bite him in the butt.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 5:38:57 AM EDT

Originally Posted By gunnnut:
Sounds a lot like stuff myself and friends did as kids.



me too, but at 14 or 15, not 18
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 6:48:57 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/23/2006 6:52:37 AM EDT by thirsty]
My dad always talks about what it was like growing up back in the 50's and 60's. As kids, they used to walk down the streets in his neighborhood with rifles slung over their shoulder, and nobody cared. They'd go into the woods and shoot at whatever moved, nobody cared. They were just kids playing soldier. People would clean their pistols and revolvers on the front porch, nobody cared. Today, that's aggrivated assault or menacing. Today, my father would be in juvenile detention for playing soldier in the woods. All I can think when he talks about the old days, is wtf?

Granted, this kid had destructive devices and a loaded weapon, and that's stupid, but I feel in his case, he was ignorant to the rules of NYS. When I was 18, I didn't know the legal age for owning a handgun was 21. This kid isn't a gang-banger, and he had a legally owned weapon with the AR. Let the kid off with a slap on the hand for being a dumb kid, educate him, and let him join up so he follow his dream.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:46:46 AM EDT

Originally Posted By rogerdodger:

Originally Posted By gunnnut:
Sounds a lot like stuff myself and friends did as kids.



me too, but at 14 or 15, not 18



agreed
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 10:25:15 AM EDT

An adult male was shooting a rifle next to the towns' designated bike path?
Sounds fairly dumbass to me. Where did the father expect his son to go shooting with the rifle he bought for him? Did he belong to a gunclub? Did they have some other place to legally go shooting? This stuff gives a bad name to all responsible gunowners.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 10:50:47 AM EDT

Originally Posted By thirsty:
When I was 18, I didn't know the legal age for owning a handgun was 21.



Prior to the change in the pistol licensing law in 2000 that wasn't the case and it still isn't under limited circumstances. Before they changed the law some counties were issuing pistol licenses to 16 year olds which is the legal age in NY to posses a long gun unsupervised. My friend was issued a pistol license when he was 18.

If you are under 21 and honorably discharged from the armed forces you are eligible to be issued a NYS pistol license.

Link Posted: 3/23/2006 12:15:23 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/23/2006 12:15:43 PM EDT by thirsty]

Originally Posted By rkbar15:

Originally Posted By thirsty:
When I was 18, I didn't know the legal age for owning a handgun was 21.



Prior to the change in the pistol licensing law in 2000 that wasn't the case and it still isn't under limited circumstances. Before they changed the law some counties were issuing pistol licenses to 16 year olds which is the legal age in NY to posses a long gun unsupervised. My friend was issued a pistol license when he was 18.

If you are under 21 and honorably discharged from the armed forces you are eligible to be issued a NYS pistol license.



When I was 24, I didn't know...
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 12:19:13 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/23/2006 12:23:00 PM EDT by thirsty]

Originally Posted By lockedandloaded:
An adult male was shooting a rifle next to the towns' designated bike path?
Sounds fairly dumbass to me. Where did the father expect his son to go shooting with the rifle he bought for him? Did he belong to a gunclub? Did they have some other place to legally go shooting? This stuff gives a bad name to all responsible gunowners.



Good point.

While I can excuse the dumb kid for being a dumb kid, the father is a different matter. He definately should've researched the laws and made sure his kid knew better. I am only 6 years older than the son, but the stuff I've learned in the time between 18 and now brought the realization that I could've gone to prison if I was caught doing the things I did 6 years ago.
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