White Terrorist Suspect Sought in Bombing of NAACP Offices


Agents from the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were in Colorado Springs yesterday collecting evidence at the scene of a mid-morning bomb attack on the local NAACP office there yesterday. According to local media accounts, witnesses saw a balding, middle-aged white man fleeing the scene in an old white pickup truck.

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The suspected terrorist set an improvised explosive device rigged to a gas-can bomb next to the building. However, when the IED exploded — while it rattled the quiet residential neighborhood where the offices are located and charred the building’s exterior — it failed to ignite the gas-can bomb, which saved the building from being engulfed in flames. It’s unclear whether the NAACP offices were occupied, but four people in a barbershop in the same building escaped unharmed.

The attack comes less than two months after Republican politicians and officials warned that anger in their tea-party base over both the president’s executive order on immigration and protests against the killing by police of unarmed black boys and men was reaching a boiling point. Then-Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma suggested that the unrest could result in “instances of anarchy” and violence.

Colorado Springs has a relatively small (a little over 6 percent) African-American population, however, like nearly every city in the United States, it has had its brushes with white supremacist activities. Last spring, a local Republican candidate for the Colorado Senate dropped out after his ties to a white supremacist group were exposed. Around that same time, the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs incited right-wing outrage when it offered four credits to students who attended a White Privilege Conference where critiques of Anglo-American history and culture were presented. In 2006, Colorado Springs’ first black police officer, Ron Stallworth, infiltrated a local KKK group posing as a white racist. He wrote a book about his experiences, titled “Black Klansman,” that was published last year.

Colorado Springs is better known as a hotbed of religious-right extremism. It is home to the Family Research Institute and Focus on the Family, both of which have been designated as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center, as well as many other lesser known extremist organizations.

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