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Police call explosion at Oregon prosecutors' office domestic terror

November 13, 2013|By Michael Muskal
  • A propane tank believed used in a bomb sits among the debris in front of the Jackson County district attorney's office after an explosion shattered windows and damaged the building's interior in Medford, Ore.
A propane tank believed used in a bomb sits among the debris in front of the… (Bob Pennell / Associated…)

Federal authorities have joined the hunt for those responsible for an explosion outside a building housing prosecutors in Medford, Ore., an attack local officials called an act of domestic terrorism.

No one was hurt in the blast, reported about 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, police spokesman Lt. Mike Budreau said. The blast shattered windows and damaged the outside of the building that includes the offices of the Jackson County district attorney’s office.

At a news conference, Police Chief Tim George told reporters he considers the bombing an act of domestic terrorism. At least 25 federal agents are en route to help with the investigation.

Investigators have no suspects, said George. He said the person behind the explosion was “trying to send a message.”

“The why is what we are chasing right now,” George told the Oregonian. “The why will get us to who.”

There were no immediate claims of responsibility, Budreau said.

An officer had an encounter with a man about a quarter of a mile away, but, “we're not sure if that is going to be related to this case,” he said.

The bomb was described as an improvised device, primarily a 7-gallon propane tank with a fuse. When the explosion took place the propane tank ignited “like a blowtorch,” he said.

“It did catch fire and emitted a large flame until it eventually burned out,” the spokesman said.

The damage could have been much worse, he said.

“I think that it's safe to assume that had this bomb went off as it was intended to, it would have most likely destroyed most of the building, and we believe that was the intent of the suspect,” Budreau said.

The prosecutor’s office has about 30 employees and is part of the criminal justice campus complex in downtown Medford.

No other buildings were damaged, he said.

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michael.muskal@latimes.com

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