Medford DA's office bombing 'domestic terrorism'

Credit: Bob Pennell, Medford Mail Tribune

Medford DA's office bombing 'domestic terrorism'

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by Evan Sernoffsky, KGW.com Staff

kgw.com

Posted on November 13, 2013 at 8:04 AM

Updated Thursday, Nov 14 at 7:14 AM

MEDFORD – Police said they think the early-morning bombing of the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office was an act of domestic terrorism.

At 4:38 a.m. Wednesday, an unknown suspect detonated a propane tank with an explosion at the DA’s office at 715 W 10th Street in Medford while no one was in the building, said Lt. Mike Budreau with the Medford Police Department. 

The tank didn't fully detonate, but it caught on fire and went out on its own. No one was injured in the explosion.

Medford Police Chief Tim George called the explosion an intentional and criminal act but said he had no idea what motivated the attack.

Police are searching for a suspect and said they were confident they will make an arrest.

"I would bet the house on it. We are going to clear this case," George said during a morning press conference.

More than 25 investigators from local and federal agencies were working the case with more agents en route to assist.

A man in dark clothing several blocks from the scene reportedly ran from an officer and has not been found, Budreau told the Medford Mail-Tribune. It's not known if he was involved in the blast.

"We're not releasing information on how the device was constructed or what materials were used because only police and the suspect know about it," George said."We're trying to contact anyone that was out and about at 4:30 this morning."

Police set up a perimeter around the DA’s office shortly after the explosion. The blast and fire from the propane tank shattered windows and damaged the building.

Damage was mostly on the exterior of the building, and had the tank fully detonated, it likely would have caused a lot more destruction, police said.

Beth Heckert, the Jackson County District Attorney was surprised to learn about the attack.

"We upset people and we get people angry but nothing specific stands out that would alert us that this would happen," she said. "There's nothing we knew prior to this that would have told us anything like this would happen."

On Wednesday afternoon, Special Agent Greg Fowler with the FBI in Oregon said he thought the explosive was intended to target a government facility

"An attack on such a visible symbol of government and justice demands our singular focus. Although no one was injured, this device posed a significant risk to the firefighters and police officers who responded to the incident," he said in a statement. " All of the investigators working this case are fully committed to finding the person or people responsible as quickly as possible."

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KGW reporters Nina Mehlhaf and Kyle Iboshi contributed to this report.


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