ST. LOUIS • A search of two homes here has concluded with the recovery of about two dozen guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition — but no explosives or booby-traps that authorities feared they might encounter, the Post-Dispatch has learned.
FBI, St. Louis and St. Louis County police bomb experts spent all day Thursday searching the two adjacent houses in the Baden neighborhood. They are owned by a man who, informers told authorities, was stockpiling guns and had been talking of mass attacks on officers.
Police arrested the man, David Michael Hagler, 53, on Wednesday. He had been charged in federal court the day before with possession of an unregistered “short-barreled” shotgun, an unregistered AR-15 rifle and a firearm with the serial number removed or altered. He also was charged with possession of firearms and ammunition by a user of a controlled substance, and by a person convicted of domestic violence.
On Thursday, authorities moved in cautiously, wearing body armor and using at least three robots to examine Hagler’s dwellings in the 1100 block of Howell Street, near the Halls Ferry Circle.
Informers told authorities they had seen instructions for making booby traps and what appeared to be trip wires on the property, according to court documents.
Hagler allegedly told one informer his yard contained many “surprises,” and described flower pots in front of his home filled with explosives that could be blown up in the event of a raid, court documents say. Nothing like that was found.
Investigators did find about two dozen handguns and long guns. Informers told police they believed Hagler had modified some weapons to fully automatic mode.
Informants also told police that the homes might be connected by an underground tunnel, but investigators did not find one, according to a police source.
Hagler is scheduled to appear in federal court Monday afternoon for a detention hearing on his charges.
Two confidential informers gathered information, sometimes making recordings, and reported it to authorities, according to court documents filed by a FBI agent assigned to domestic terrorism.
One informer described Hagler as a very intelligent “Rambo” or “mountain man” type, trying to live off the grid and harboring “extreme anti-government and anti-law enforcement views.”
According to court documents, informers said Hagler harbored a seething hatred for his ex-wife, government, law enforcement, African-Americans and Muslims. He allegedly talked of killing police at an officer’s funeral or fundraising event.