One of three terror attacks that occurred Saturday.
SEASIDE PARK – A pipe-bomb-style device detonated in a garbage can at the start of the route of a Marine Corps charity race Saturday morning, injuring no one, but sparking a massive law-enforcement response and suspicions of terrorism.
The FBI said it was “unaware of any known threat” to public safety, in an early-evening press conference that lasted about two minutes. Brad Cohen, the special agent in charge of the Newark FBI office, said the agency’s Joint Terrorism Task Force was taking the lead in investigation into the explosion. He said the agency was working to make sure there was “no stone left unturned” in the probe.
Multiple agencies are investigating the incident and whether the motive was terror, said Al Della Fave, spokesman for the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office..
“You would have to assume that at a military-type event, the U.S. Marines, a device is placed along the route of a charity event, it would be hard to think it would be anything else,’’ Della Fave said.
The device went off about 9:35 a.m. at Ocean Avenue and D Street, where the Seaside Semper Five 5K race had been scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m., Della Fave said.
Problems with registration for the race delayed its start and possibly spared people from injury, he said.
“When it went off, there was nobody in the area,’’ Della Fave said.
Della Fave said multiple explosive devices were enclosed in the trash can, designed to send shrapnel flying, but because only one of them detonated, “it appears it didn’t do the damage it was supposed to.’’
Police sources say there were as many as three inside the trash can.
Remnants and residue from the bomb are being sent to an FBI lab for analysis, a law-enforcement source said.
A number of questions remain unanswered as of Saturday night: how the bomb was detonated; what type of explosive was used; and if any surveillance camera caught a suspect planting the device.
Della Fave said there were about 3,000 people assembled at the registration area for the race when the pipe-bomb detonated.
If it is proven to be terrorism, the Jersey Shore would join other communities that have experienced acts of terrorism. For some, it evoked disquieting memories of the Boston Marathon bombing more than three years ago, when two pressure cooker bombs exploded, killing three and wounding more than 260. Several officials publicly acknowledged how lucky it was that the Seaside Park race was delayed, possibly sparing runners from any injuries in the blast.
An earlier fun-run for children had already started, however, and people participating in that reported hearing the explosive detonate, Howath said.
“The nine o’clock race – the one mile – did not go off on time, it went off at about 9:15,” he said. “And the 5K was supposed to be going off at 9:30 which would’ve been delayed. But at that point in time, when they found (the) backpack, they announced that its owner come and get it. They made that announcement on numerous occasions and when nobody claimed it, they evacuated us all out.”
Bombings also took place in New York City yesterday evening. NYC mayor is refusing to call it terrorism.
8.30 PM EST New York City
AN explosion in New York has injured 29 people after it was “intentionally” detonated, with a second device found close-by in Chelsea.
…device detonated outside a shop called The King David Gallery, in the heart of the bustling district, and is believed to have been concealed in a dumpster.
New York Police Department then found a second device on 27th Street, which was made from a pressure cooker connected to a cell phone with wires attached.
A piece of paper with writing on it was found nearby.
Late on Sunday, two senior law enforcement officials said they had a “person of interest” in the bombing, though they did not refer to that person as a suspect.
Senior law enforcement officials also said that they were increasingly focused on the possibility that the attack was connected to a bombing that took place 11 hours earlier in New Jersey, but the authorities still needed to compare all the bombs before drawing any conclusions. There, three pipe bombs were tied together, placed in a trash can and also employed by a flip cellphone as a timing mechanism, according to officials. Only one of the three pipe bombs detonated and no one was injured. Officials said the explosive in that device appeared to be black powder.