A backpack discovered along the route of the Martin Luther King Jr. march in Spokane [Washington] contained a bomb “capable of inflicting multiple casualties,” the FBI said Tuesday.
The FBI said a suspicious backpack was found about 9:25 a.m. PST on Monday on a bench at the northeast corner of North Washington Street and West Main Avenue in downtown Spokane.
A bomb disposal unit was called in and neutralized the device. The FBI said in a statement on Tuesday that “the backpack contained a potentially deadly destructive device, likely capable of inflicting multiple casualties.”
The FBI has refused to discuss how the bomb was constructed.
“Suffice it to say it was of grave concern,” Frank Harrill, special agent in the charge of the Spokane FBI office, told NBC News.
“You could describe it as an improvised destructive device … or improvised explosive device,” Harrill said.
Area workers initially reported the suspicious package to Spokane police. The march was slightly re-routed and delayed because of the bomb scare.
“The three contract workers in the area who were there are unsung heroes,” the FBI spokesman said.
The FBI has not established an official motive, but Harrill told NBC News “the timing and placement of the backpack (along the march route) is inescapable.”
“At that point, it falls directly in the realm and sphere of domestic terrorism,” Harrill told the Associated Press. “Clearly, there was some political or social agenda here.”
A decade ago, nearby northern Idaho was something of a haven for white nationalists, and there are still some around.