A suspect, 28-year-old Benjamin Roden, of Tulsa, a former military member who made an anti-government post on his Facebook page earlier this week, was arrested as a “person of interest” in the bombing. You can read about him here.
Here is the original report:
An explosion has caused damage to an Air Force recruiting center in Bixby, Oklahoma, near Tulsa, KJRH-TV reports.
The FBI said Tuesday they are investigating the bombing as a “criminal act,” rather than an act of terrorism, KOTV reports.
The agency earlier said they were treating the explosion as a possible act of “domestic terrorism” out of an “abundance of caution,” CBS News reports.
The blast caused major damage to the office, but no injuries have been reported, according to the news station. Photos from the scene show that the doors of the recruiting center were blown off by the blast.
The explosion was reported about 10:30 p.m. Monday at the recruiting center near East 103rd Street and South Memorial, according to emergency dispatchers.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. A Witness Says a Person on a Motorcycle Threw a Backpack With a Pipe Bomb at the Office Window
A witness told KJRH-TV that a person on a red motorcycle, described as a “crotch rocket” threw a backpack at the Air Force recruiting center and then drove off. The backpack then blew up. The witness said it appeared there was a “pipe bomb” inside the backpack.
No one is believed to have been injured.
An FBI spokesperson told the Tulsa World that evidence was collected at the scene, including a pipe. They will attempt to re-create the bomb as part of the investigation.
2. A Car at a Nearby Recruiting Center Was Vandalized, the FBI Says
Vandalism was also reported at another recruiting center across the street, within walking distance of where the bomb was detonated, the FBI told the Tulsa World. A car’s tires were slashed and some of its windows were broken out, the FBI said.
“It’s suspicious,” FBI spokeswoman Jessi Rice said. “There’s no known connection. But it’s quite ironic that that happened.”
Rice told the newspaper that agents investigating the explosion have reached “no conclusion” on intent.
In a statement, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said, “While device origin and motive is not known at this time, the site of the explosion is a military office. The possibility of domestic terrorism cannot be excluded at this time. ATF and FBI will continue to process the scene and follow leads until a more definitive determination is made.”
The FBI later said they now believe it was a criminal act, not domestic terrorism, but the investigation is ongoing and no exact motive has been determined.
3. The Recruiting Center & Nearby Stores Were Closed at the Time of the Blast, but Shops Were Back Open Tuesday
The Air Force recruiting center is located in a shopping center alongside several other businesses, but photos from the scene show that the buildings appeared to be closed an unoccupied when the blast occurred.
“It’s a little bit comforting that they didn’t want to kill anyone” because the bomb was set off at night,” FBI spokesperson Jessi Rice told reporters.
It appears that the explosion caused damage to at least one neighboring business, but the Air Force office was the most heavily damaged by the blast.
Nearby stores were open as usual on Tuesday. The front doors of the recruiting center were boarded up by Airmen about 7 a.m., the Tulsa World reports.
4. The Tulsa Police Department’s Bomb Squad & Several Federal Agents Swarmed the Scene
The Tulsa Police Department’s bomb squad was sent to the scene, KOKI-TV reports.
The Bixby Police Department and firefighters were also at the scene.
Police and other authorities have not issued further statements about the incident.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the FBI then also responded to the scene, the Tulsa World’s Samantha Vincent reports.
Bixby Police Sergeant Tim Scrivner said the FBI is leading the investigation, with assistance from the ATF.
FBI spokeswoman Jessi Rice said the FBI is looking for witnesses and are conducting interviews to try to determine what happened.
5. No Suspect Have Been Identified & a Motive for the Possible Bombing Is Not Known
The FBI has not said if they have identified a suspect or suspects in the bombing.
“We have not confirmed a subject. We also don’t know the motive behind it,” FBI spokesperson Jessi Rice told reporters Tuesday at a press conference. “So at this point we don’t know if it was a disgruntled employee, an act of domestic terrorism or just someone playing games, so we’re treating it as strictly a criminal investigation with an explosive device.”
The incident was recorded on surveillance video by cameras at nearby businesses, but that footage has not been made public.
Rice told reporters that the FBI is taking the matter very seriously, calling it a “hit on the military,” during a press conference.
“That is a big deal to us,” she said. “This is something we do not take lightly by any means.”
Several federal charges could be filed against the perpetrator, Rice said.
“Potentially, we’re looking at weapons of mass destruction charges, explosive devices charges,” she told reporters. “So it depends on what route it goes, whether it’s terrorism or criminal related, that will determine what kind of charges will be pressed.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact the FBI’s Oklahoma City field office at 405-290-7770.
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