Sunday, Aug. 2 opened with a sunny, peaceful morning when celebrants of different stripes put on their nice clothes and headed to church.
Then the peace was shattered.
Luckily no one was injured, but a pair of bombs detonated at two different churches. A little after 8 a.m., the first explosion destroyed a mailbox at Calvary Baptist Church at 1800 S Locust St., and nearly a half-an-hour later an explosion took place across town at Holy Cross Catholic Church at 1327 N. Miranda St. Both churches – separated by slightly more than three miles – were evacuated.
Then a third, undetonated explosive, was discovered a couple of weeks later near a leaking sprinkler valve at a First Presbyterian Church.
The unease began.
“Suspicious” packages were reported and checked by bomb squads, after evacuations and/or road closures, one of which took place at the Mesilla Valley Mall.
The final quarter of 2015 has come and gone, but the investigation continues.
Robert White, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI office in Albuquerque, told Las Crucens, “I encourage anybody anywhere who has information to share that information with us.
“Don’t become complacent,” he said. “Working together, we can solve this crime.”
He pointed out three months after the bombings that the issue is “not on the back burner, nor will it be.
“Someone knows information about this case. We are encouraging that individual or those individuals to come forward with that information,” White said.
Shortly after the bombings, law enforcement officials released a 20-second video that shows an adult male wearing a dark blue, short-sleeved tee shirt, plaid shorts and hiking boots who appears to be carrying a bag or package, White said. That person was seen in the Calvary Baptist Church parking lot about the time of the explosion there, but has not been identified.
He said law enforcement officials also would like to make contact with a “person of interest who may know something” about the bombings.
The bombings, he said, especially at a place of worship, are “intolerable.”
To contact law enforcement about the church Bbombings, call the 24hour, seven-day-a-week FBI tip line at 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324).