An explosion occurred outside of an NAACP office building in Colorado Springs, Colo. yesterday morning. FBI officials have since confirmed that the explosion was caused deliberately.
The Denver Post reported that an improvised explosive device was detonated against the exterior wall of the South El Paso St building just before 11:00 a.m. MT on Tuesday (January 6).
"I was cutting somebody's hair and I heard the explosion," Gene Southerland, who owns a barbershop that shares the building with the NAACP offices, told the Post. "It was such a loud explosion that some plastic containers fell off the shelf."
No one was injured in the explosion, FBI Denver spokeswoman Amy Sanders told the Los Angeles Times.
Sanders also confirmed that a gasoline can was found near the device. The can did not ignite in the explosion.
FBI Denver officials say the explosion was deliberate. Their person of interest is a white male, about 40-years-old. He might be driving an "older-model dirty white pick-up truck with paneling, a dark-colored bed liner, an open tailgate and a missing or covered license plate," says the Times.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is a civil rights organization that was founded in 1909. Their mission, taken from the NAACP website, is: "to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination."
"It's messed up, man. It's horrible," Southerland told the Times. "In broad daylight? Just goes to show there's always a threat."
Cornell Brooks, CEO and President of the NAACP, tweeted this statement:
News of the bombing made national and international headlines, but has not gotten as much coverage as some other stories (including Wednesday morning's (Jan. 7) deadly mass shooting in Paris). That lack of attention has some activists frustrated, among them celebrities like Rashida Jones:
The NAACP has a long history of being attacked, especially by members of the nation's oldest hate group, the Ku Klux Klan. As the Washington Post explains, “In the 1910s and 1920s, racial violence forced many NAACP branches in Texas to close. The organization urged the government to create laws to combat KKK attacks with little success.” Numerous members of the NAACP have been killed over the years, including civil rights activists Medgar Evers and Harry T. and Harriette Moore.
Henry Allen Jr., president of the NAACP chapter affected by the bombing, said, “We believe in civil rights for all, and really we won't work in fear and we won't be deterred. We'll move on. This won't deter us from doing the job we want to do in the community."
With additional reporting by Danica Davidson.