No bail in bombing of officer's house

December 16, 1992|By Michael James | Michael James,Staff Writer Staff writer Larry Carson contributed to this article.

A member of a hate group charged with bombing a Baltimore County policeman's home and an unoccupied Maryland State Police car Nov. 5 was denied bail yesterday by Towson District Judge G. Darrell Russell Jr.

Charles Edward Altvater, 31, who has been jailed in the Baltimore County Detention Center on fireworks charges since Nov. 17, waived his right to appear in person before the judge to argue for his release.

Mr. Altvater was indicted on 16 criminal counts Monday by &&TC Baltimore County grand jury in connection with the bombings.

The charges were brought after an investigation by county police and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Mr. Altvater was arrested after investigators raided his house in the 1400 block of Strawflower Road in Essex and found 92 "quarter stick" explosives, police said. The devices are equivalent to a quarter stick of dynamite, according to police.

The grand jury charged Mr. Altvater Monday 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 is white. But police said Mr. Altvater's membership in the Church of the Creator -- an Otto, N.C.-based white supremacist 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 the occupants were injured, but 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.

The Church of the Creator argues that blacks, Jews, Christians and others threaten the survival of the white race. In its newspaper, 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 the newspaper 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, Mr. Miller said.

It is unknown whether the bombing of the officer's home had anything to do with that incident, Mr. Miller said.

Members of the Church of the Creator have been actively distributing the newspapers in the Baltimore area for several years.

In January, more than 1,000 copies were distributed in Howard County on the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.

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