Bomb at Mlk Parade Sophisticated

By Nicholas K. Geranios
Associated Press
January 19, 2010


A bomb left along the route of a Martin Luther King Jr.
Day parade was sophisticated, with a remote detonator
and the ability to cause many casualties, an official
familiar with the case said Wednesday.

The bomb, which was defused without incident on Monday,
was the most potentially destructive he had ever seen,
said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity
because he is not authorized to release information
about the investigation.

"They haven't seen anything like this in this country,"
the official said. "This was the worst device, and most
intentional device, I've ever seen."

The FBI on Wednesday declined to reveal any details
about the bomb, which was spotted by three city
employees about an hour before the downtown parade was
to start, said Frank Harrill, special agent in charge
of the Spokane office. The employees looked inside, saw
wires and immediately alerted law enforcement, and the
parade was rerouted.

The FBI received no warnings in advance and does not
have a suspect, Harrill said. No one has claimed
responsibility for planting the bomb.

The discovery before the parade for the slain civil
rights leader raised the possibility of a racial motive
in a region that has been home to the white supremacist
Aryan Nations

"The confluence of the holiday, the march and the
device is inescapable, but we are not at the point
where we can draw any particular motive," Harrill said.

The Spokane region and adjacent northern Idaho have had
numerous incidents of anti-government and white
supremacist activity during the past three decades.

The most visible was by the Aryan Nations, whose leader
Richard Butler gathered racists and anti-Semites at his
compound for two decades. Butler was bankrupted and
lost the compound in a civil lawsuit in 2000 and died
in 2004.

In December, a man in Hayden, Idaho, built a snowman on
his front lawn shaped like a member of the Ku Klux Klan
holding a noose. The man knocked the pointy-headed
snowman down after getting a visit from sheriff's

Harrill called the planting of the bomb an act of
domestic terrorism that was clearly designed to advance
a political or social agenda.

"The potential for injury and death were clearly
present," he said of the bomb.

The FBI has offered a $20,000 reward for information
leading to the arrest and conviction of the bomber.

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