January 18, 2011

So much for civility ...

Bill Morlin reports for the SPLC:

A backpack bomb with the potential of killing or injuring dozens of people was found Monday along the route of a Martin Luther King Day “unity march” in downtown Spokane, Wash., authorities said today.

“It was a device that clearly was intended to harm or kill people,’’said Frank Harrill, a senior FBI agent and spokesman for the bureau’s Inland Northwest Joint Terrorism Task Force.

The FBI posted a $20,000 reward Tuesday and released three photographs, including one of the black Swiss-Army backpack that contained the destructive device.

Harrill would not discuss the type of explosive or its construction, including whether the backpack contained an explosive shield intended to spray shrapnel toward potential victims. He also declined to say if the device was intended to be detonated remotely or by a timer.

“It was set to detonate during a unity march on the King Holiday, so, obviously it had political or social overtones,’’ Harrill said.

There was no threat made before the device was discovered by three construction workers about a block from the city’s Opera House and Convention Center where various speakers, including Spokane Mayor Mary Verner, spoke after the march.

Here's the pictures of the backpack:


As KREM-TV reports, the bomb also disrupted the march temporarily, forcing it to take another route:

A witness found the backpack around 9:30 A.M. and called police. The witness told KREM 2 News the backpack appeared to have wires sticking out of it.

Police secured a safety zone around the device when they arrived on scene. Spokane City-County Explosives Disposal Unit used a robot to set off a charge on the bag to disrupt the device.

Roads remained closed in the area most of the day while authorities continued their investigation.

But I'm sure this just another isolated incident. Right? We're up to 20 and counting over the past two and a half years, for what it's worth.

The Spokesman-Review has more.

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