Rachel Maddow & ABC News & Electronic Urban Report – 2011-01-21 19:44:57
FBI Finds Bomb on
Martin Luther King Parade Route
MLK Parade Pipe Bomb: Race Connection ‘Inescapable’, FBI Says
SPOKANE, Wash. (January 19, 2011) — Federal investigators are looking at race as a possible motive in the attempted bombing of a Martin Luther King Day parade in Spokane, Wash., as they hunt “armed and dangerous” suspects. â€¨â€¨”I think the connection is virtually inescapable… that the device was planted and left there to target the marchers or bystanders,” Frank Harrill, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Spokane office, said late Tuesday.â€¨â€¨
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 15 different “hate groups” operate in Washington state and six others just over the border in Idaho — including the white supremacist group Aryan Nations. The FBI said the men or women responsible are being considered “armed and dangerous.”â€¨â€¨Whatever the motive, Spokane Mayor Mary Verner said the attempted bombing was “unacceptable.”â€¨â€¨
“I was struck that on a day when we celebrate Dr. King, a champion of non-violence, we were faced with a significant violent threat,” Verner said Tuesday. “This is unacceptable in our community, or any community.”â€¨â€¨
Just half an hour before the Martin Luther King Day parade was scheduled to begin Monday, three workers spotted a suspicious package with visible wires on a bench, the FBI said.â€¨â€¨ Authorities rerouted the parade while officers from the Spokane Police Department’s bomb disposal unit worked on the bomb.â€¨â€¨
“I saw the robot and when I saw the robot I told my girls to run and ‘Let’s get out of here,'” witness Lisa Ludeman told ABC News.â€¨â€¨Harrill, the supervisory senior resident agent in Spokane, told ABC News the backpack was “a viable device.”â€¨â€¨
“The potential for lethality was clear,” Harrill said Tuesday. The local bomb squad neutralized the device, he added.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio
Video: Pipe Bomb Found in Backpack along MLK Parade Route
Electronic Urban Report
(January 19, 2011) — A backpack containing a pipe bomb was found in Spokane, Washington, along the route of a Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. parade, the FBI said Tuesday.
The device, capable of inflicting “multiple casualties,” was discovered Monday morning by three parade workers before the event, FBI supervisory agent Frank Harrill told CNN. The cityâ€™s explosives disposal unit neutralized the device.
The gray backpack was placed on a bench at the northeast corner of North Washington Street and West Main Avenue in downtown Spokane, the FBI said in a statement.
Agents have leads in the case, but Harrill would not provide details on the device and the investigation, which includes a $20,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of those responsible.
The FBI released photos of the Swiss Army-brand backpack and two T-shirts that were found within. One shirt says “Treasure Island 2009” and the other reads “Stevens County Relay For Life June 25th-26th 2010.”
The FBI is asking the public for information on who might have been with the backpack from about 8 a.m. to 9:25 a.m. Monday. It also is asking for photos or videos taken in the area.
The incident forced organizers of the parade to change its route, CNN affiliate KREM said.
Ivan Bush, who has helped organize the King birthday celebration march in Spokane for more than 20 years, told the Spokesman-Review that news of the backpack’s potential was “just painful to see and hear.”
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