Investigators identify suspected Albuquerque Old Navy arsonist

old-navy-arson-suspect


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – He had guns, ammo and explosive materials.

There was a little luck involved in the arrest of that suspect when a police officer was in the right place at the right time.

David Hickman, 28, made his first appearance in federal court Monday morning. Investigators haven’t charged him for any of the other attacks we’ve seen over the past week but they say they are not looking for any other suspects.

It was the fire that was set at the Old Navy off I-40 and San Mateo late Friday night that led police to Hickman.

KRQE News 13 has obtained the federal criminal complaint. In it, the feds say an Albuquerque police officer was up the street and heard a series of small explosions. The officer drove toward Old Navy and saw a car in the parking lot that wasn’t there just minutes earlier. He then saw someone running into the store through the broken windows.

Read the criminal complaint »

David Hickman
David Hickman

When police took Hickman into custody he had a loaded handgun in a holster, an AR 15 rifle and a box full of containers of an explosive material called Tannerite on the seat and mason jars in the trunk. Sources told KRQE News 13 there was gasoline in the jars. According to the complaint, he also had a list with Old Navy on it.

Right now, Hickman is only charged with the Old Navy firebombing. But when asked this weekend after the arrest if the suspect is linked to the overnight attacks on three Starbucks, a Barnes & Noble, an anti-abortion ministry and The Carlisle condo building in Nob Hill, Albuquerque Police Chief Gordon Eden said he believed the threat was off the streets.

“I’ll make this clear and say it again. We do not believe that our community is in any harm,” said Chief Eden. “We believe that on the arrest that was made early this morning our community is safe.”

Hickman was driving a silver Ford C-Max hybrid. The Albuquerque Police Department released surveillance pictures of a similar-looking car the arsonist may have been driving when the anti-abortion ministry on San Mateo near Lomas was targeted last week.

An online search of Hickman’s criminal record shows a drug bust five years ago, and a string of parking tickets since then.

The substance found in Hickman’s car, tannerite is easily accessible. It’s designed for target shooters and is triggered by a high-powered shot. But when combined with gasoline or put in a closed area like in a washing machine or a building, the explosion is much more devastating.

It’s the same substance used in the Chelsea terror bombings back in August.

The ATF does not regulate tannerite because separately the chemicals don’t meet the definition of an explosive.

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