FBI Searches for Suspect in Attempted Bombing in Littleton
Today the FBI's Denver Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) announced it now considers a man spotted in surveillance video at a Littleton, Colorado mall a 'possible suspect' in an attempted bombing there on Wednesday. Earlier, authorities would only go as far as to say he was a 'person of interest' who investigators hoped to question.
Between six and ten thousand people were evacuated from the Southwest Plaza Mall when after a security guard put out a small fire,
two propane tanks and a pipe bomb were discovered in the food court area. The incident occurred on the 12th anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School.
The FBI tells Fox News that its laboratory in Quantico, Virginia received all of the evidence from Wednesday's incident at 1 am this morning and that forensics experts immediately began processing it. Dave S. Joly, the department's Denver Division Media Coordinator says that this is an indication of how important this case is to the FBI.
Also this morning the JTTF released three new surveillance photos taken from a Regional Transportation District (RTD) bus camera. The three images show what appears to be the same man from earlier surveillance shots in the mall. He was on a bus that authorities say he was riding from the Southwest Plaza Mall at 8:30, the night before the incident. In the photos he is seen wearing a dark baseball hat, striped shirt and a jacket.
As for a possible connection to the 1999 attack on Columbine High School, investigators acknowledge the potential. Aside from the date, the similarities include proximity to time of day, explosive devices and location. Twelve years ago, student gunmen Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris stormed their school in the 11 am hour after two propane tanks and pipe bombs failed to explode. They killed twelve students and a teacher before taking their own lives. In Wednesday's attempted bombing that was discovered at 11:52 in the morning, the propane tanks and pipe bomb were placed the food court area, just as Harris and Klebold chose the school cafeteria for their explosives.
However, local and federal authorities maintain at this point in their investigation they do not have a direct link between the two events.
In a statement the FBI urged the public to take a look the total of six photos released to see if anyone recognizes this man, and if so, to please alert authorities.