‘Domestic Terror’: Bomb Found in Backpack Ahead of Spokane MLK Parade

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The F.B.I. says the device could have caused “multiple casualties.” Thankfully, it was found — and defused — before the march got underway.

In what feels like a callous affront to King’s legacy of non-violence, an improvised bomb was placed along the Martin Luther King Day parade route in downtown Spokane, Washington on Monday.

(Read “A Brief History of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.”)

The suspicious backpack, which contained an improvised explosive device (IED) and two t-shirts, was found less than an hour before the festivities began.  The march was re-routed and the bomb diffused.

Given the timing and the placement of the bomb, the F.B.I. believes the motive was political: “We’re certainly approaching it as a potential domestic terrorism event at this point,” said spokesman.“Whether the motive was racial or an individual was being targeted, it’s too soon to say.”

The agency is offering a $20,000 award for information leading to an arrest and conviction. (Via the Los Angeles Times)

(See TIME’s photo essay, ‘Martin Luther King in His Own Words.’)