Thursday, January 20, 2011

Spokane Explosives Expert Weighs In On MLK Day Bomb

KXLY.com
Sally Showman | KXLY4 Reporter
Posted: 9:46 am PST January 20, 2011Updated: 10:08 am PST January 20, 2011

SPOKANE, Wash. -- A former commander of Spokane's Explosive Disposal Unit is offering some perspective on the bomb found in downtown Spokane Monday.

Al Odenthal is a former deputy chief with the Spokane Police Department. While he's not involved with the bomb investigation, based on information released by the FBI and in media reports he says this bomb had tremendously devastating potential.

"I just found it so telling that here we are celebrating the life of a person who espoused nonviolence in all its forms and yet we're going to have a bomb," Odenthal said.

According to ABC News the bomb was packed with some form of shrapnel and had a remote detonator attached.

"This is meant to maim and kill when you do that with a device," he said, referring to the shrapnel attached to the bomb.

Odenthal has experience with shrapnel-packed bombs. He headed up Spokane's bomb squad for most of the 1990's and was the shift commander on April 29, 1996 when a pipe bomb packed with nails and screws exploded outside Spokane City Hall.

"That too, was a shrapnel device, and shrapnel traveled about 300 feet," Odenthal recalled. "To give perspective of that, we found nails and screws and metal objects that had been attached to the exterior of that device as far as the Looff Carousel."

Odenthal believes the placement of the bomb, on the bench facing the Martin Luther King Unity Parade route, was no mistake.

"The steel bench and the brick wall will channel some of that almost like bouncing a basketball against a wall," Odenthal said of the energy from a potential blast.

He also questioned whether this is an isolated incident.

"Is this a concerted focused effort? Is there going to be multiple devices? Is our community at further risk? Law enforcement is going to be concerned about that, it's their charge to keep the community safe," he said..

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