NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Queens man is facing charges after investigators found bomb-making materials at his home late Tuesday night.
Police said Marak Squires is facing a reckless endangerment charge, but more charges could be added as the investigation continues. Police sources told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes on Wednesday evidence points to a mentally unstable man with no political or terror affiliations, adding motives remain unclear.
— Andrea Grymes (@AndreaGrymesTV) September 16, 2020
FBI agents carried bags of evidence from a home on 19th Street in Astoria. Federal and local investigators swarmed the block for hours, trying to piece together why the man who lives there allegedly had bomb-making materials and manuals inside.
It was a stark scene as joggers and dog walkers passed by for their morning strolls across the street in Astoria Park.
“I felt surprised, shock. I can’t believe it happens in your own backyard,” one man said.
The unsettling find came after a fire at the house on Tuesday afternoon.
Investigators said the tenant, 37-year-old Squires, was acting erratically outside and taken to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
Meanwhile, when the scene cleared neighbors noticed a suspicious box on the sidewalk out front and opened it.
“Women’s intuition. There was something not really right,” neighbor Debbie Riga said. “I saw metal cans, I saw fuses, those long chords, and I saw powder.”
Neighbors said they called the FBI after alerting police still on the block.
“I said, look! This looks very suspicious,” Doros Evangelides said.
“There was materials found that raised some concern. That included a number of chemicals, a number of packages, a number of books and manuals, that caused them to call for investigators,” said NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller. “He’s known to the department, but the investigation is going to continue as to why he had these things, what specifically was the origin of the fire.”
In addition to the box, investigators allegedly found more inside the home. They stress the easily-available, mostly over-the-counter materials were not assembled into an actual bomb, but could have been.
Neighbors said Squires mainly kept to himself.
“There were people who noticed that he was a bit odd,” Riga said.
There was no immediate word on exactly what caused the initial fire.
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