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Friday, March 1, 2024

Would-Be Bomber Who Idolized Columbine Killers Pleads Guilty to Firearms, Child Porn Charges

In March 2023, the FBI received another tip that Calderon had detonated a homemade bomb in his Fort Worth-area residential neighborhood.

A Burleson man who apparently idolized the Columbine High School shooters pleaded guilty today to possessing a homemade bomb, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Leigha Simonton.

Noah Robert Calderon, 22, was charged via criminal complaint in April and indicted in May. He pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of possession of an unregistered firearm and one count of receipt of child pornography.

“This defendant’s obsession with mass shooters put him squarely on the Justice Department’s radar. When he violated the law, we took immediate action, potentially thwarting an act of violence,” said U.S. Attorney Leigha Simonton. “The discovery of one crime, possession of an unregistered firearm, led to the discovery of another, possession of child pornography. We are proud to hold him accountable for both. ”

“The collaborative work by the FBI and our law enforcement partners led to today’s outcome which holds Mr. Calderon accountable for creating and possessing a homemade bomb and for possessing explicit videos of a child,” said FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Chad Yarbrough. “The FBI is committed to protecting the communities we serve from violent acts and the exploitation of innocent children. We ask the public to remain alert and to continue reporting suspicious or threatening behavior to law enforcement.”

The investigation began in October 2022, when the FBI received a tip about Mr. Calderon’s social media activity.

Court documents indicate that online, Mr. Calderon professed a fascination with high-profile mass shootings, particularly the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School. He posted numerous images of himself in tactical-style vests posing with AR-15-style rifles and shared Columbine-themed memes along with images of homemade explosives.

In March 2023, the FBI received another tip that Mr. Calderon had detonated a homemade bomb in his residential neighborhood.

In plea papers, he admitted that he had purchased explosive precursors online. He also admitted that he stored 659.2 grams of explosive powder, along with a lighter, cannon fuse, cardboard tubing, a glass jar marked “frag” that contained metal ball bearings, lead, a funnel, and measuring spoons, in his garage.

A subsequent search of his Google account revealed queries related to the Columbine killers, the Charleston church shooter, “pipe bomb how to make,” “how to make propane bombs,” and “wear [sic] were the propane bombs in Columbine,” as well as searches of the names of several local public schools.

In plea papers, Mr. Caldron specifically admitted to searching for bomb-making information.

A search of his phone revealed sexually explicit videos taken from a video chat between Mr. Calderon and a 13-year-old girl.

Also in plea papers, he admitted he was aware of the child’s age when he saved the videos.

Mr. Calderon now faces up to 30 years in federal prison – up to 10 years on the firearm count plus between five and 20 years on the child pornography count. His sentencing is set for Friday, Nov. 3 at 9 a.m.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office, the Burleson Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives’ Dallas Field Division conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Weimer is prosecuting the case with National Security Division Trial Attorneys Justin Sher and Jacob Warren.

Read more at ATF

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