FBI Says Explosion Outside NAACP Colorado Springs Chapter Could Be Domestic Terrorism

01/07/2015 03:20 pm ET | Updated Jan 08, 2015

The FBI says it is investigating the possibility that an explosion on Tuesday outside of the Colorado Springs, Colorado, chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People may have been an act of domestic terrorism.

"Certainly domestic terrorism is one possibility, among many others," Amy Sanders, media coordinator for FBI's Denver office, told The Huffington Post. "We are investigating all potential motives at this time."

A homemade explosive was detonated Tuesday morning against an exterior wall of a building that houses the NAACP Colorado Springs chapter as well as Mr. G's Hair Design Studios, a local barbershop. There were no deaths or injuries from the explosion and only minimal surface damage was done to the wall where the explosion occurred, but chapter president Henry Allen Jr. said the blast was strong enough to knock objects off the wall.

It remains unclear whether the civil rights organization was specifically targeted. Allen told the Gazette, a Colorado Springs-based newspaper, that he was hesitant to call the explosion a hate crime without more information from the investigation. Sondra Young, president of the NAACP's Denver chapter, said the incident "certainly raises questions of a potential hate crime."

"One thing is clear -- this is an act of domestic terrorism," Young told HuffPost. "In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, 'Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.' This cowardly attempt at a criminal act that is both intolerable and morally reprehensible."

A man described as white, balding and approximately 40 years old has been named by the FBI as a person of interest in the investigation. The bureau said he may be driving a white pickup truck, from the year 2000 or earlier, with paneling, a dark bed liner, an open tailgate and a missing or covered license plate.

The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force was leading the investigation into the explosion, but the Colorado Springs Police and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have also been involved.

Longtime civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) tweeted on Wednesday that he was "deeply troubled by the bombing in Colorado."

"It reminds me of another period," Lewis added. "These stories cannot be swept under the rug."

For decades, the NAACP has stood up to violence, frequently brought on it from white supremacist groups like the Ku Klux Klan. Bombings of NAACP offices were common during the 1960s in some southern U.S states. In Alabama, the city of Birmingham was sometimes called "Bombingham" due to a wave of bombings that targeted black homes and churches, including the 1963 Birmingham church bombing that killed four African-American girls.

This story has been updated.

CONVERSATIONS