The FBI is investigating an explosion that occurred outside the Colorado Springs chapter of the NAACP on Tuesday, the first day back in the office for volunteers and employees after an extended holiday vacation.
Two volunteers in the office around 10:45 a.m. heard a loud “boom” that was strong enough to knock items off the walls, said Henry Allen Jr., president of the chapter. He was not there at the time, but said the volunteers looked outside to see what had happened, and saw what they described as a gas can rigged with some kind of incendiary device, such as a flare, according to Amy Sanders, FBI Denver representative.
No one was injured.
Allen said he is hesitant to call the explosion a hate crime without further information from the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. The explosion happened at 603 El Paso St., according to a Colorado Spring Police spokesperson, Catherine Buckley. People in a nearby business heard a boom and went outside. There they saw a charred area on the ground.
Police initially reported that the explosion occurred outside a barber shop which is in the same building, at 603 S. El Paso St. Allen said the barber shop is owned by a long-time Colorado Springs resident, and he did not think he would have been the target of any intended attacks.
He said around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday that he was rushing to his office to check voice messages that came in over the holidays to see if any threats were phoned in while people were out of the office. Other than some charring at the site of the explosion, no visible damage was reported, police said Tuesday morning. Police spokeswoman Lt. Catherine Buckley deferred further questions to the Denver office of the FBI.