Retired Ft. Benning Ranger arrested with dangerous explosives, firearms

Officials say he had enough explosives to wipe out an entire block
Jess Henderson
Jess Henderson(Source: Muscogee County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 9:42 PM CDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - New details about an arrest where multiple explosives were found at a home in North Columbus -- Officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives tell us the man being charged is a retired Fort Benning Army Ranger.

ATF says Jess Henderson had enough to kill everyone on the block. An agent says a domestic dispute led police to the home and Henderson’s ex-wife had a restraining order against him.

“It’s definitely scary considering I have two babies and I mean... you just have no idea what’s going on around you. You’d like to think you do but clearly we don’t,” said Johnna Eldridge.

Two sisters living in North Columbus say they’re shocked to hear what their neighbor was arrested for.

“It’s crazy. I mean I’ve never even seen the guy outside. His truck’s probably not moved in like a year,” said Hannah Frost.

Sunday, Muscogee County Sheriff Greg Countryman says several agencies responded to a home on Wilbur Drive, a three minute drive away from the Columbus airport, where 15 pounds of C-4 explosives were found.

“12 blocks of C-4 four can can wipe out a block easily,” said Georgia’s Public Information Officer for ATF Nathan Banks.

Officials says the explosives were found in a safe along with a 40 foot detonation cord, seven guns, 12 AR magazines and more. Banks says a domestic disturbance led police to the home where Henderson’s ex-wife lives. Banks says she had a restraining order against him because he had threatened to kill her.

“It was found right in the house. So I don’t know if he brought it there or they were placed right in the house prior prior to and she did she was not aware of it,” said Banks.

News Leader 9 spoke with the mother of Henderson’s ex-wife off camera who says they had been hiding from him for the past two weeks and the former couple had a child together.

“First of all, it’s scary that he was a Fort Benning Ranger because he knows how to use what he had. He -- I’m sure he’s accurate with it, which is really scary,” said Eldridge.

ATF says it’s unclear what Henderson was planning to do with the explosive materials.

All explosives were sent to Fort Benning and detonated. Henderson is being held at the Muscogee County Jail facing several charges including aggravated assault, simple battery and possession or manufacture of destructive devices.