On Tuesday morning around 10:45AM, an “improvised explosive device” near the NAACP building in Colorado Springs discharged, frightening residents and workers in the area. The South El Paso Street sidewalk and exterior of the left side of the building were slightly ruptured, but thankfully no one was hurt.
Once FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents arrived on the scene, it was determined the explosion had been deliberately placed. They had also found a red gasoline can in the vicinity that was meant to pop off, but did not ignite. The suspect is still at large and is described as a “balding White male, about 40 years old” and there are hints of the act being racially motivated. Well duh.
Amy Sanders, an FBI agent, was neutral on the matter, telling the The Denver Post, “The investigation is ongoing and it is not known at this time if the NAACP or a business in the vicinity was the intended target.”
Gene Sutherland, owner and barber of Mr. G’s Hair Design Studio, which is also a part of Colorado’s NAACP, was cutting a client’s hair when he heard the explosion. He shared with the Gazette, “I had a corrections officer in my chair, and he said it sounded like a shotgun blast.” Moments after the blast, Sutherland was joined by neighbors outside to see what had happened as authorities were on their way. It was witnesses of the aftermath that first noticed the important detail of the red can.
Henry Allen, Jr., President of the Colorado Springs’ NAACP, spoke on behalf of its members and nearby residents with a message of positivity, especially for the many that were shaken by the incident. “We believe in civil rights for all, and really we won’t work in fear and we won’t be deterred. We’ll move on. This won’t deter us from doing the job we want to do in the community.” The national NAACP Cornell Brooks, also expressed words of determination, “We remain vigilant.”
The manhunt continues for the suspect. As requested by Denver media, anyone with information about the explosive device should call the FBI tip line at (303) 435-7787.