SEATTLETIMES.COM - The FBI has made an arrest in connection with the attempted bombing along the route of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in downtown Spokane.
An FBI source in Washington, D.C., said one man was arrested Wednesday outside a home near Colville, Stevens County. Agents, including a bomb expert from Quantico, Va., were preparing to search a house where others associated with the suspect were living, the source said.
The suspect is believed to be affiliated with white supremacists, the source said.
The federal and local law enforcement officers surrounded the home near Colville this morning, about 80 miles northwest of Spokane. Two T-shirts found inside the backpack that contained the bomb were tied to that rural area.
The source, who is familiar with the investigation but is not authorized to speak on the record, said that "good police work" led to the arrest and that forensic evidence taken from a backpack bomb was key to the case.
It is not known whether additional arrests were anticipated. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Spokane is expected to hold a news briefing later Wednesday.
The backpack, left on a metal bench along the route of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in downtown Spokane, contained a bomb that, had it gone off, would have sprayed the crowd with lead pellets coated with rat poison. Investigators believe the bomb was placed in such a way as to maximize casualties.
The backpack was found Jan. 17 by three city sanitation workers 40 minutes before the parade was to begin, at the intersection of Washington Street and Main Avenue. Police rerouted the parade, which concluded without incident.
The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force has been investigating the attempted bombing. Most investigators suspected race and hate were the likely motives.
Frank Harrill, the resident agent in charge of the Spokane office, said "nobody believes that the timing and the placement of the device along the route of the [Martin Luther King Jr. Day] march was a coincidence."
A source familiar with the investigation said the device was fueled by gunpowder or a similar commercial "low-explosive" surrounded by lead pellets and a white powder that has tested to be rat poison.
Many rat poisons contain the chemical warfarin, an anticoagulant. There have been media reports that some suicide bombers in the Middle East pack their bombs with rat poison in hopes of making them more lethal.
It was to be detonated remotely, with what the source would describe only as a "line of sight" electronic device. Those sorts of devices include items such as garage-door openers or similar low-powered transmitters.
It is likely, the source said, that the bomber would have to be close by to set it off.
Harrill said the two T-shirts — apparently purchased at a local thrift shop — were stuffed around the device, most likely in an effort to conceal it.
The two T-shirts were tied to Stevens County. One of the shirts was distributed last year at the "Relay for Life" race in Colville. The second shirt — which had the words "Treasure Island Spring 2009" on the front — was from a local theater production in 2009 in the town of Chewelah.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 12:27 AM EDT2013-05-22 04:27:35 GMT
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