NYC seeks ‘full truth’ of ex­plo­sion

Gov.: No ap­par­ent global ter­ror link in blast that hurt 29

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD - By Jake Pear­son and Ali­cia A. Cald­well The Wash­ing­ton Post con­trib­uted.

NEW YORK — The bomb that rocked a New York City neigh­bor­hood con­tained residue of an ex­plo­sive of­ten used for tar­get prac­tice, a fed­eral law en­force­ment of­fi­cial said Sun­day, as au­thor­i­ties tried to un­ravel who planted the de­vice and why.

The dis­cov­ery of Tan­ner­ite — used in tar­get prac­tice to mark a shot with a cloud of smoke and small ex­plo­sion — in ma­te­ri­als re­cov­ered from the Satur­day night ex­plo­sion that in­jured 29 peo­ple may be im­por­tant as au­thor­i­ties probe whether the blast was con­nected to an un­ex­ploded pres­sure-cooker de­vice found just blocks away, as well as a pipe bomb blast in a New Jersey town ear­lier in the day.

Tan­ner­ite is le­gal to pur­chase and can be found in many sport­ing goods stores.

Gov. An­drew Cuomo, tour­ing the site of the blast in Man­hat­tan’s Chelsea neigh­bor­hood, said there didn’t ap­pear to be any link to in­ter­na­tional ter­ror­ism. He said the sec­ond de­vice ap­peared “sim­i­lar in de­sign” to the first, but he did not pro­vide de­tails.

“We’re go­ing to be very care­ful and pa­tient to get to the full truth here,” New York Mayor Bill de Bla­sio said Sun­day. “We have more work to do to be able to say what kind of mo­ti­va­tion was be­hind this. Was it a po­lit­i­cal mo­ti­va­tion? A per- New York Gov. An­drew Cuomo, cen­ter, and New York City Mayor Bill de Bla­sio, right, tour on Sun­day the site of the blast. sonal mo­ti­va­tion? What was it? We do not know that yet.”

The bomb­ings, cou­pled with a stab­bing at­tack in Min­nesota, left of­fi­cials across the coun­try scram­bling to de­ter­mine who was re­spon­si­ble for the three ap­par­ently sep­a­rate in­ci­dents, which all took place in one day and sowed fears of ter­ror­ism. Each in­ci­dent raised the pos­si­bil­ity of ter­ror­ist con­nec­tions, prompt­ing fed­eral and lo­cal law en­force­ment to pour ma­jor re­sources into de­ter­min­ing what hap­pened and why.

Cell­phones were found at the site of both bomb­ings, but no Tan­ner­ite residue was iden­ti­fied in the New Jersey bomb rem­nants, in which a black pow­der was de­tected, said the of­fi­cial, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity.

Au­thor­i­ties said the Man­hat­tan bomb­ing and the blast 11 hours ear­lier at the site of a 5K race to ben­e­fit Marines and sailors in Sea­side Park, N.J., didn’t ap­pear to be con­nected, though they weren’t rul­ing any­thing out. The New Jersey race was can­celed, and no one was in­jured.

Of­fi­cials haven’t re­vealed any de­tails about the makeup of the pres­sure-cooker de­vice, ex­cept to say it had wires and a cell­phone at­tached to it.

Tech­ni­cians in Quan­tico, Va., were ex­am­in­ing ev­i­dence from the Man­hat­tan bomb­ing, de­scribed by wit­nesses as a deaf­en­ing blast that shat­tered store­front win­dows and in­jured by­standers with shrap­nel in the mostly res­i­den­tial neigh­bor­hood on the city’s west side. All 29 of the in­jured peo­ple were re­leased from the hospi­tal by Sun­day after­noon.

“When you see the amount of dam­age, we re­ally were very lucky there were no fa­tal­i­ties,” Cuomo said.

The ex­plo­sion left many rat­tled in a city that a week ear­lier had marked the 15th an­niver­sary of the 9/11 ter­ror­ist at­tacks and where a United Na­tions meet­ing to ad­dress the refugee cri­sis was sched­uled Mon­day.

“Peo­ple didn’t know what was go­ing on, and that’s what was scary,” said An­thony Zayas, an ac­tor who was in the Chelsea neigh­bor­hood Satur­day night when the bomb went off. “You didn’t know if (it) was com­ing from the sub­way be­neath you, you didn’t know if there were other bombs, you didn’t know where to go.”

Ex­perts said a large amount of Tan­ner­ite would be re­quired to cre­ate a blast like the one Satur­day night, as well as an ac­cel­er­ant or other ig­niter.

The bomb in Man­hat­tan ap­peared to have been placed near a large dump­ster in front of a build­ing un­der con­struc­tion, said another law en­force­ment of­fi­cial, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity to dis­cuss the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Home­made pres­sure­cooker bombs were used in the Bos­ton Marathon at­tack in 2013 that killed three peo­ple and in­jured more than 260.

An ad­di­tional 1,000 state troop­ers and mem­bers of the Na­tional Guard were placed at tran­sit hubs and other points through­out New York City, and ex­tra po­lice of­fi­cials were pa­trolling Man­hat­tan, of­fi­cials said.

Mean­while, a law en­force­ment of­fi­cial said fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tors had dis­counted a claim of re­spon­si­bil­ity on the so­cial blog­ging ser­vice Tum­blr. In­ves­ti­ga­tors looked into it and didn’t con­sider it rel­e­vant to the case, said the of­fi­cial, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity to dis­cuss an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

An­thony Stan­hope, 40, a song­writer who lives a block away from the site of the bomb­ing, said he needed more an­swers be­fore he could feel safe. “It’s some kind of fa­nati­cism, I don’t know ex­actly what it is,” he said. “But some­body has an agenda to cause trou­ble in this coun­try.”

JUSTIN LANE/EPA

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