An Essex man who police said belongs to a white supremacist church group was charged yesterday with the Nov. 5 bombings of a Baltimore County police officer's home and an unoccupied Maryland State Police car.
Charles Edward Altvater, 31, who has been jailed in the Baltimore County Detention Center on illegal fireworks charges since Nov. 17, was indicted on 16 criminal counts by a Baltimore County grand jury in connection with the bombings.
Mr. Altvater was arrested after investigators raided his house in the 1400 block of Strawflower Road and found 92 "quarterstick" explosives, police said. The devices are equivalent to a quarter stick of dynamite, according to police.
The grand jury charged Mr. Altvater yesterday with attempted murder, reckless endangerment, possessing and manufacturing explosives, destruction of property and other violations.
No one was injured in either of the bombings and the incidents were not apparently racially motivated, since the county police officer was white. But police said Mr. Altvater's membership in the Church of the Creator -- an Otto, N.C.-based religious hate group that encourages militancy in its members -- still may have been a factor.
Police said a bomb of some type exploded on the front porch of a home in the Country Ridge Estates off Back River Neck Road, where a county police officer was living with his mother.
The explosion happened about 5:30 a.m., while the 34-year-old officer, his mother, and his sister's three children, ages 3, 6, and 7, were inside. None of them were hurt, but the force of the explosion broke a pair of front windows and twisted a screen door.
County police said a state police car was bombed on the same day, but the trooper wasn't near the car. No other information was available about that bombing.
The Church of the Creator argues that blacks, Jews, Christians and others threaten the survival of the white race. In its literature, a newspaper titled "Racial Loyalty," it often claims the justice system, the police, and others have turned against whites.
Mr. Altvater -- who described himself to police as a "reverend" in the church -- has occasionally distributed Racial Loyalty in the area, leaving it on residential lawns and in public places, county police spokesman E. Jay Miller said.
Baltimore County police had at one time seized a supply of the newspapers from him, but later returned them, not realizing they were protected forms of free speech.