Archived: NAACP Office Bombed

By Chris Hoenig

An NAACP chapter office in Colorado has been bombed in what authorities are investigating as a possible hate crime.

The FBI has joined the investigation and is looking for a balding white man, about 40 years old, who fled the scene.

The homemade bomb was detonated outside the NAACP office in Colorado Springs. Part of the improvised device exploded, but a gasoline can placed alongside the bomb failed to ignite, limiting the damage.

“All of a sudden I heard this big boom. There was smoke everywhere; the building on the side was burnt,” a witness told KDVR-TV in Denver. “Whoever did it took off right away. That’s all I heard and it was scary.”

The FBI said that the person it is seeking drove off in a 2000 or newer white pickup truck, with a dark-colored bed liner and open tailgate, that had its license plates either covered or removed.

“He was a heavier white man with what looked like a [Carhartt jacket], just driving normal like it was a normal day,” said Julie Skufca, who said that she stared at the man as he drove away. “Kind of made your heart stop, especially when you have kids.”

An FBI spokeswoman said no one was injured in the explosion.

“This certainly raises questions of a potential hate crime, but at this point we’re still gathering information. It’s a very sad situation, but we’re happy our people in Colorado Springs are safe,” NAACP Denver chapter president Sondra Young said, adding that her branch “stands tall with the community of Colorado Springs in rejecting an attempt to create fear, intimidation and racial divisiveness.

“Although this is an active investigation, one thing is clear,” she said. “This is an act of domestic terrorism.”

The FBI said that while the explosion was deliberate, it was still trying to identify whether the NAACP was the target.

“It has also not yet been determined if the motive was a hate crime, domestic terrorism, a personal act of violence against a specific individual, or other motive as there are numerous individuals and entities tied to the building in the vicinity of the explosion,” Denver-based FBI spokeswoman Amy Sanders said.

Sanders could not provide any further details on the bomb.

The building also houses Mr. G’s Hair Design Studios, a local barbershop, but NAACP members are sure they were the target.

“Who would want to bomb a beauty salon” one member asked.

The FBI is joined by the ATF and the Colorado Springs Police Department in the investigation.

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