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Olympic Park Bombing Story Page

FBI 'confident' bomber will be nabbed

Centennial Park

Olympic park will reopen Tuesday

July 28, 1996
Web posted at: 2:30 p.m. EDT

ATLANTA (CNN) -- The FBI said Sunday it has finished collecting evidence in Centennial Olympic Park and is "confident" the bombing culprit will be found. (297K AIFF or WAV sound) icon

"An intensive investigation is being conducted by numerous law enforcement agencies," FBI Special Agent David Tubbs said in a news conference. "Through this cooperative effort, we are confident we will solve this horrible crime."

The Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games also announced that the park will reopen Tuesday morning, July 30, with tightened security.


A composite sketch of the suspect has been made, but it has yet to be released to the public. Though no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, Tubbs said investigators believe a white American man is behind it.

Tubbs said if anyone saw a man near the Days Inn in downtown Atlanta, a few blocks from the park, around 1 a.m. Saturday to call the FBI hot line, 1 (800) 905-1514. The culprit is believed to have made a bomb threat from a nearby public telephone around 1 a.m. (189K AIFF or WAV sound) icon

Early Saturday morning, a bomb jolted the park, killing one and injuring more than 100 others. Another man died of a heart attack.

Tubbs applauded the public's help in providing investigators with a large amount of information. More than 600 people have called the FBI hot line; people also have handed over pictures and video from the park that have helped move the investigation along.

Events continue

Dozens of Olympic sporting events were taking place as scheduled throughout the city Sunday, although the security presence near all the sports venues was increased. Some spectators were experiencing delays because of stricter security measures, officials said.


"We are very grateful to the authorities concerned, and also for their excellent response in the security measures that have been taken," said International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch at a Sunday morning news conference. (264K AIFF or WAV sound) icon

The president of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, Billy Payne, said attendance at Saturday's events was about 95 percent.

He described the spectators as "incredible crowds, patient crowds, crowds determined to enjoy their Olympic experience, and not to allow these acts of cowardice to ruin that experience for them."

icon Montage of images and comments by President Bill Clinton, ACOG President Billy Payne, (1.5M QuickTime movie)

Both Payne and Samaranch expressed deepest sympathies to the family of the woman killed by the explosion, as well as to the 111 people who were injured. Fifteen people remained hospitalized Sunday, three in critical but stable condition.

Alice Jane Hawthorne, 44, a tourist from Albany, Georgia, died at the scene of the explosion, apparently of massive head injuries and multiple penetrating injuries. Her 14-year-old daughter, Fallon Stubbs, had injuries to her foot and elbow from shrapnel, according to doctors at Georgia Baptist Hospital.

stadium arrivals

Payne said Centennial Olympic Park, the main gathering place for Olympic revelers, would reopen amid more security precautions.

"Now that this incident has occurred, however, the security officials obviously will be recommending measures to take in light of a known situation," Payne said.

icon Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell
(281K AIFF or WAV sound)
icon IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch
(111K AIFF or WAV sound)
icon ACOG President Billy Payne
(221K AIFF or WAV sound)

No shortage of leads

White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta said 900 FBI agents as well as numerous state and local officials are pursuing a number of leads.

"They feel confident that we will be able to bring the person responsible for this outrage to justice," Panetta said.

Investigators told CNN they were making progress in their investigation. They said they are focusing on domestic terror and checking for militia connections.

But members of a Georgia militia group vehemently denied any connection to the bombing.

"Atlanta now looks like a virtual police state, which is something the patriots and militia have fought against," said J.J. Johnons, a co-founder of the 112th Regiment Militia-at-Large for the Republic of Georgia. "Why would we do something to bring that about?"

Federal agents arrested three Georgia militia members in April, charging them with conspiracy to build pipe bombs.

Law enforcement sources said the device that exploded during a late-night concert in the park consisted of three pipe bombs tied together in a bag. The bombs were made of galvanized pipe with threaded ends and end caps attached and were approximately 2 inches by 10 inches long.

Investigators said an important clue was the timing device used by the bomb maker, which was more sophisticated than first thought.

Pieces of the bomb have been sent to the FBI lab in Washington for further analysis.

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