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Iowa City man arrested after bringing ‘incendiary materials’ to GuideLink Center, UI College of Public Health
Nezzy Underscore Conway, 23, facing terrorism charge, possession of explosives charges
IOWA CITY — An Iowa City man is facing a charge of terrorism and two charges of possession of explosives for two incidents in Iowa City that happened on Tuesday.
Additional charges against Nezzy Underscore Conway, 23, are expected by the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and Iowa City Police Department, a news release from the sheriff’s office said.
Conway is charged with possession of incendiary or explosive device with intent, a felony, after bringing “incendiary materials with an attached fuse” to the GuideLink Center, which serves people in mental health or substance abuse crises.
He also is charged with terrorism and possession of incendiary or explosive device with intent after placing an incendiary device in an exterior electrical outlet at the University of Iowa College of Public Health, according to a criminal complaint.
At 9:16 a.m. on Tuesday, University of Iowa police was called to the UI’s College of Public Health for a possible incendiary device. The device appeared singed from someone attempting to set it on fire. Above the outlet and device on the wall, the word “HELP” was written using soot or ash, according to the criminal complaint.
Johnson County bomb squad later confirmed the device caused an incendiary reaction but did not cause enough heat to burn through the rubber hose, according to a criminal complaint.
Later that morning, around 10:30 a.m., law enforcement responded to an incident at the GuideLink Center, 300 Southgate Ave.
Conway physically assaulted staff members there, authorities said. When officers arrived, he began to attack them and was detained.
According to the criminal complaint, Conway initially had a machete but staff was able to secure it.
Conway left a backpack at the center. The Johnson County Metro Bomb Team removed the “suspicious package,” which included incendiary materials with an attached fuse, authorities said. The device had the same yellow/green tape as the one at the College of Public Health.
The Iowa City Police Department had a previous report about Conway “possibly making bombs and stealing an LP tank to alter it to explode,” according to a criminal complaint.
A search warrant was conducted at Conway’s home at the Capitol House Apartments, 320 S. Dubuque St. in Iowa City. Law enforcement found the LP tank, more incendiary devices with the same tape and a notebook saying, “Use incendiaries to destroy the electrical box by the courthouse.”
According to the criminal complaint, information obtained by law enforcement indicated that Conway had told a former teacher and his mother that he would take his own life if they didn’t find him a romantic partner within 30 days.
“Due to his behavior at the GuideLink Center before being taken into custody, it is reasonable to believe that the ‘suicide plan’ that he had discussed with his former teacher was being acted upon,” the complain stated.
He also had an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court for criminal mischief in an unrelated incident.
Conway is in custody at the Johnson County Jail. He is being held on a $201,000 cash or surety bond.
GuideLink’s executive director, Abbey Ferenzi, referred comment to the sheriff’s office. The center is open around the clock and provides sobering, crisis stabilization, crisis observation and detox services. People can walk in to access services, or be referred by a health care provider or law enforcement.
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