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Suspect in mall bomb attempt apprehended
Law enforcement authorities in Denver apprehended their primary suspect in an attempted pipe bombing of a local shopping mall after a nationwide manhunt.
The FBI Denver Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), in conjunction with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), said they had captured of Earl Moore the morning of April 26 in Boulder, CO, ending a nationwide manhunt.
Moore is suspected of leaving a homemade pipe bomb in the Southwest Plaza Mall in Littleton, CO, on April 20. The FBI had distributed video of a suspicious man entering a back doorway of the mall that day. Several containers of propane were found along with the pipe bomb after a small fire in the mall’s food court alerted mall personnel. Thousands of people were evacuated from the facility until the bomb was rendered inoperative.
The mall is only a few miles from Columbine High School, which was the site of one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history. April 20 was the 12th anniversary of the attack by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold that killed 12 students and one teacher. Klebold and Harris had planned to use propane bombs in their assault.
As the investigation into the Southwest Plaza Mall incident progressed, police and the FBI downplayed any link to Columbine. “Through the course of our investigation, there has been no discovery, at this point, of any connection between the Southwest Plaza Mall incident and the Jefferson County School District,” said the FBI in a statement released hours before Moore was found and arrested.
The FBI said Moore was arrested at 3600 Table Mesa Drive in Boulder, by the Boulder Police Department. The address is for a King Soopers supermarket. The FBI told reporters in Boulder on April 26 that Moore was identified by a patron of the supermarket, who said they saw Moore at a Starbucks coffee shop in the store.
The FBI called Moore “armed and dangerous” and had called the bombing attempt an act of “domestic terrorism.” It had urged national and local media to provide descriptions and photos of Moore to the public in hopes of finding him quickly.
Moore had been released from a West Virginia prison on April 13, where he had been serving a prison sentence for a May 2005 armed robbery of a bank in the state.