Fri | Nov 27, 2020

FBI: Explosion not being called act of domestic terrorism

Published:Tuesday | July 11, 2017 | 12:00 AM

BIXBY, Oklahoma. (AP):

Federal authorities said yesterday that they are no longer investigating a pipe bomb explosion that damaged a north-east Oklahoma Air Force recruiting station as a possible act of domestic terrorism, adding that the blast could be the work of a disgruntled employee or a prank.

FBI agent Jessi Rice said the explosion in the Tulsa suburb of Bixby is not being called domestic terrorism because investigators have not determined a motive, but that a person of interest has been taken into custody. Rice said she could not provide that person's name and that investigators were asking the person questions at a Tulsa-area apartment complex.

"We don't know if it was a disgruntled employee, an act of terrorism or someone playing games," Rice said at a news conference.

Rice said the blast currently is a criminal investigation into the use of an explosive device.

A device was set off at about 10:30 p.m. on Monday in front of the recruiting centre, which was closed, federal authorities said. No one was hurt.

Earlier Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said the blast was being treated as a possible act of domestic terrorism out of "an abundance of caution", because of its proximity to the recruiting office.

The Air Force recruiting station is in a commercial area that also houses restaurants, financial planning firms and other businesses. A movie theater is nearby.

The door of the recruiting centre was blown off in the explosion and landed in a parking space in front of the storefront and soot-covered windows. Two workers from a glass repair business were replacing the shattered door with a new one by late Tuesday morning.

Rice said agents were still scouring the area for surveillance cameras that might show someone putting the device in place or a vehicle containing suspects. A witness said a motorcycle was seen in the area around the time of the blast.