FBI investigating explosion near NAACP office in Colorado Springs

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

An explosion that took place in a barber shop next door to the Colorado Springs, Colorado office of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) yesterday is currently being investigated by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force, as well as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Officials said the explosive device was placed next to a can of gasoline but the gasoline did not ignite after the device detonated.

The FBI are seeking a balding white male, aged about 40 years old, as a "person of interest" connected to the case. The FBI statement continued: "He may be driving a 2000 or older model dirty, white pick-up truck with paneling, a dark colored bed liner, open tailgate, and a missing or covered license plate".

FBI Special Agent Amy Sanders said: "The investigation is ongoing and it is not known at this time if the NAACP or a business in the vicinity was the intended target".

Gene Southerland, owner of Mr. G's Hair Design Studios, said: "I was cutting somebody's hair and I heard the explosion [...] It was such a loud explosion that some plastic containers fell off the shelf." Southerland continued: "Some neighbors came out and said they saw a Caucasian gentleman get into a white truck [...] It was such a beautiful day and everything, sunny. And in broad daylight, you hear this explosion. It's frightening".

Henry Allen Jr, the president of the Colorado Springs branch of the NAACP, told reporters: "We'll move on. This won't deter us from doing the job we want to do in the community." The NAACP national office put out a statement stating that the group "looks forward to a full and thorough investigation into this matter by federal agents and local law enforcement".

US Congressman Doug Lamborn told Colorado Springs newspaper The Gazette by email: "I'm thankful that none of the volunteers or employees of the Colorado Springs NAACP were injured in today's apparent bombing [...] I hope that the FBI investigation is able to swiftly apprehend the people responsible for this act of violence and intimidation."