Alphonso D. Mobley Jr. lost both of his hands in an explosion in Columbus, Ohio, on April 5. Officials say the explosion was caused by a bomb that Mobley was building (video below).
Columbus Fire Division investigators accused Mobley of trying to build the same kind of bomb (triacetone triperoxide, or TATP) that was used by suicide bombers in the 2015 terrorist attack in Paris, notes The Columbus Dispatch.
"An explosion happened. My friend is on the ground bleeding," Robert M. Innis Jr. reportedly told a 911 operator after the incident, but said at the time he didn't know what happened because he was outside of the house.
Innis described Mobley's hands as "splattered," and said Mobley was "unresponsive."
"Yeah, his hands exploded," Innis added, The Columbus Dispatch reports.
According to investigators, Innis changed his version of the incident several times, but eventually told law enforcement that Mobley was mixing chemicals to create a bomb.
Authorities evacuated nearby residents and firefighters blew up the chemicals inside the home rather than taking the risk of carrying them out.
Mobley was later transported to a local hospital. Mobley, 26, and Innis, 21, who was not injured, were both charged with possession and manufacture of a dangerous ordnance.
Battalion Chief Steve Martin, a spokesman for the Fire Division, said that Innis admitted he and Mobley were members of Sovereign Citizens, an anti-government group labeled as domestic terrorists by the FBI, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
"We believe these guys are an isolated cell," Martin added, and not a part of a bigger operation.
In 2010, the FBI said that members of Sovereign Citizens were "anti-government extremists who believe that even though they physically reside in this country, they are separate or 'sovereign' from the United States."
The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force is investigating the explosion and the chemicals in the home with local authorities.