Three enlisted soldiers from Camp Frank D. Merrill in Dahlonega were booked Monday morning on dozens of charges, including domestic terrorism, after authorities say they tossed explosive devices into a crowd of people in a Dawson County parking lot.
No one was hurt in the attack.
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 vehicle in which the trio were traveling, is charged with 35 party to a crime charges.
Campbell also has been charged with numerous traffic violations including fleeing and attempting to elude, no headlights and reckless driving.
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.
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 suspects fled the scene and were apprehended a short distance away at a local office park.
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 Monday.