VanPac News History

Copyright 1989 Newspaper Publishing PLC  
The Independent

December 20 1989, Wednesday

SECTION: Foreign News ; Pg. 11

LENGTH: 391 words

HEADLINE:FBI find race clue in Bomb attacks

BYLINE: From MARC CHAMPION in Washington


THE FOCUS of the investigation into a string of letter-Bomb attacks in the southeastern corner of the US appeared to switch from drugs to race yesterday, after one Bomb was discovered at the Florida office of a civil rights group and another killed a black lawyer in Savannah, Georgia.

Early speculation, by the FBI and Georgia Senator Howell Heflin, had focused on the possibility that Colombian drug cartels might be behind the attacks. But the murder of Robert Robinson, a black lawyer and city councilman, and the attempt on the Jacksonville, Florida, office of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) seemed to detract from that theory. Mr Robinson was representing the NAACP in a long running school desegregation case.

Mr Robinson, a 42 year-old lawyer from Savannah, Georgia, was the second person in three days to die from a pipe Bomb blast. He was opening a package while alone in his office on Monday night when it blew up, causing massive injuries to his chest, arms and legs. He died on the operating table three hours later.

Another bomb, detected before being opened at NAACP's Jacksonville headquarters yesterday was similar to the one which killed Mr Robinson.

A Federal Appeals Court Judge, Robert Vance, was killed when one of the bombs exploded at his home in Alabama on Saturday. A fourth device was discovered in the mail room of Atlanta's courthouse and removed harmlessly on Monday morning. 'There's a strong similarity in the explosive devices and it appears there is a relationship,' said an FBI special agent, Tom Moore. Alabama, Georgia and Florida are all part of Judge Vance's 11th Circuit district.

The FBI has contacted civil rights activists around the country warning them to take extra precautions, particularly such high profile figures as Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King. One such person contacted said the FBI agents were looking into the possibility that white supremacists might have sent the bombs.

The courthouses in Miami and Fort Lauderdale were evacuated yesterday after telephone threats. Parts of the Justice Department were cleared after an X-ray machine operator detected what he thought was a bomb. But the package contained a Christmas present for the Attorney General, Richard Thornburgh.

Foreign News Page 11

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