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Post #199 • January 25, 2004, 7:32 PM • 2 Comments
Alan Feuer for the New York Times:
The initial report seemed typical of Orange Alert America: an explosion at a Brooklyn loft had led the authorities to a cache of weapons, explosives, photographs of the World Trade Center and maps of New York City.
However, after the Police Department's bomb squad, fire marshals and eventually the department's elite counterterrorism unit arrived to investigate, a band of somewhat sheepish - but admittedly relieved - law enforcement officials had a vastly different story to tell.
The owner of the loft, Christopher Hackett, 31, was not a terrorist but a performance artist, they said. His gun powder and assault rifles, while illegal, were not weapons meant for some dark purpose. They were ingredients for eccentric public happenings and pyrotechnic works of art. ...
Officers from the 76th Precinct in Boerum Hill received a report about the explosion around 11:30 a.m. yesterday, said Deputy Chief John Colgan, who leads the department's counterterrorism unit. When they arrived at the loft at 217 Butler Street, they found a burned and bleeding Mr. Hackett with some sort of propane or acetylene torch, Chief Colgan said.
In a typically deadpan police manner, the chief then described what Mr. Hackett had been doing with the torch. "A preliminary investigation showed that he was trying to construct a confetti gun," Chief Colgan said.