Investigators released a sketch Friday of a person of interest in connection to a bomb detonated outside the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People office in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Tuesday. The Federal Bureau of Investigation agents want to speak to the man regarding the “bombing” and are offering a $10,000 reward for any information.
Witnesses told investigators they saw a white, balding man in his 40s driving a white pickup truck Tuesday morning near the building, which houses both the NAACP Colorado Springs branch and a barbershop. The man was seen carrying something down the alley along the building and returning empty-handed as the explosion went off. Duct tape and pieces of metal were found about 50 feet from the scene. The eyewitness descriptions of the man helped investigators put together a sketch, FBI special agent Tom Ravenelle said at a press conference Friday.
The man appears to have acted alone and there is no evidence to suggest there were any accomplices. A motive is still unknown and it’s unclear whether the man targeted the NAACP. However, the bombing was clearly meant to cause harm and destruction, Ravenelle said.
“We will not speculate on the motive of the placement of the device. We would be naive if we did not acknowledge the NAACP as a national organization that’s been the recipient of threats throughout their existence,” FBI special agent Tom Ravenelle said Friday at the press conference in Colorado Springs. “We’re not going to call it terrorism; we’re not going to call it a hate crime.”
Ravenelle said a man reportedly came into the NAACP office last week angry. Investigators are “fact-checking” into the reports on this individual. NAACP chapter president Henry Allen Jr. told the Colorado Springs Gazette he too would be hesitant to call the incident a hate crime but was looking forward to a thorough investigation. “This won’t deter us from doing the job we want to do in the community,” Allen said.
Ravenelle said the improvised explosive device, which failed to ignite a companion gasoline can and exploded against an exterior wall, was not sophisticated. No one was injured from Tuesday’s explosion and the building suffered minor damage. The FBI and the Colorado Springs Police Department have teamed up with the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Fountain Police Department and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department on the investigation.
Gene Southerland, owner of the barbershop, said he heard the blast and went outside. “On the northeast side of the building I saw a red gas can on the ground,” Southerland said. “It’s messed up, man. It’s horrible. In broad daylight? Just goes to show there’s always a threat.”