NAACP leaders on Wednesday were being cautious about labeling Tuesday’s bombing of its Colorado Spring chapter office a hate crime. The FBI was soliciting leads in their search for looking for a balding white male in his 40s who they believe deliberately detonated a homemade bomb outside the office before driving off in a white pickup truck. No one was injured in the explosion, but the blast charred an exterior wall of the building, The Gazette reported.
Local and national NAACP leaders did not immediately link the blast to racial tensions that have boiled over nationwide following the police killing of two unarmed black men in Missouri and New York last year, and the assassination of two police officers in New York City last month. A statement released Tuesday from the NAACP national office said the civil rights organization "looks forward to a full and thorough investigation into this matter by federal agents and local law enforcement."
Henry Allen Jr., the president of the NAACP chapter, told The Gazette that two volunteers in the NAACP office around 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday reported hearing a loud “boom” strong enough to knock down things that were hanging on the wall. Outside, the volunteers found what agents from the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives described as a gas can rigged with some kind of incendiary device. Allen, who was not at the office of the time of the explosion, stoped short of calling the explosion a hate crime before the FBI concluded its investigation. He said the blast would not deter the civil right’s organization’s activities.
This is not the first time an NAACP office has been the target of an attacked. In 1989, eight people were hurt by a tear-gas bomb mailed to the Southeastern regional NAACP office in Atlanta, The Associated Press reported at the time.