Charges continue to mount for three enlisted soldiers who authorities say tossed training grenades into a crowd of people at a local parking lot over the weekend.
On Tuesday morning, investigators added possession of destructive devices and possession, transportation or use of a destructive device with intent to intimidate to the trio’s list of charges. The new charges are felonies.
No one was hurt in the attack.
In addition to the latest charges, Jeremy Wade Morgan, 34, of Dawsonville, and Nicholas Gregory Wendt, 25, of Dahlonega, each face 16 felony counts of aggravated assault, 16 misdemeanor counts of reckless conduct and two felony cruelty to children charges, in addition to the domestic terrorism charge.
Thomas Daniel Campbell, 21, of Dahlonega, who is believed to have been driving the car in which the soldiers were traveling, is charged with 35 party to a crime charges.
The soldiers are being held without bond at the Dawson County Detention Center.
Sheriff’s Lt. Tony Wooten said the soldiers, who work in support roles at the Ranger camp, drove into the Ingles parking lot near Ga. 53 and Ga. 400, and tossed two Army-issue hand grenade simulators, typically used in military training, within about 40 feet of the crowd.
The first exploded near the crowd of 14 adults and two juveniles. The second one did not detonate.
Wooten said the investigation has revealed no relationship between the soldiers and the crowd.
“There were no words between them, no arguments,” Wooten said. “We can’t find any indication that they knew each other.”
The attack occurred about 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning and was initially reported as exploding pipe bombs by the victims.
“The difference is they have no shrapnel inside them and are not designed to injure anyone,” Wooten said.
Investigators said both devices landed within a dangerous distance to the group and could have harmed those in the crowd if nails, rocks or other small objects would have been on the ground.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s explosives team was brought in to investigate the devices, Wooten said.
He said GBI took the device that did not detonate.
Wooten said the suspects fled the scene and attempted to elude officers on Ga. 400 by driving without headlights. They were apprehended a short distance away at a local office park.
Campbell is also charged with numerous traffic violations including fleeing and attempting to elude, no headlights and reckless driving.
Deputies recovered 10 more devices they believe the soldiers tossed out the window during the chase that night.
“Those were turned over to Army personnel who were also on scene,” Wooten said.
An 11th device was found in the same area during the day Sunday.
Wooten said it is his understanding that officers at the Ranger camp are conducting their own investigation to determine how the soldiers acquired the explosive devices.
Calls to Camp Frank D. Merrill were not returned.