Woodburn, Oregon bank explosion kills 2 officers
08:55 AM PST on Saturday, December 13, 2008
WOODBURN, Ore. -- A Woodburn police officer and state police bomb squad technician were killed, while the city's police chief remained in critical condition after a bomb exploded late Friday at a Woodburn bank.
The FBI and ATF offered a $35,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the explosion and deaths, Oregon State Police said.
The explosion happened at the West Coast Bank on the Newberg 214 Highway just before 5:30 p.m., Marion County deputies said. Officers were on the scene investigating a report of a suspicious device when the device detonated.
Woodburn Police Department Capt. Tom Kennant and Oregon State Police bomb technician Bill Hakim were killed in the blast.
Woodburn Chief of Police Scott Russell was in critical condition and a female bank employee received minor injuries.
On Friday morning, a Woodburn-area Wells Fargo Bank received a threatening phone call from an unknown person. Bank personnel notified Woodburn Police Department and the bank was evacuated while police investigated with the assistance of the FBI and an Oregon State Police bomb squad.
The investigation led to the West Coast Bank on Highway 214, just east of Interstate 5. While investigators were in the area, a suspicious device detonated.
State police said the first device, discovered by police after the suspicious phone call, was determined not to be dangerous. The second device, which was discovered by a bank employee, did detonate.
It was unclear to police whether the devices were related.
Highway 214 in Woodburn was to remain closed most of the weekend due to the explosion, police said. Residents and commuters were encouraged to find other routes of travel in the area.
"This individual took the life of two police officers, critically injured the chief of police, and potentially could have taken the lives of bank employees inside," Oregon State Police Lt. Hastings said. "If it takes a $35,000 reward, or if that reward grows, to break the case open then it's money well spent."
Hakim became the second bomb technician in Oregon State Police history to be killed in the line of duty.
Marion County sheriffs described Hakim as a dedicated family man with wife and two teenaged children.
Woodburn Police Sgt. Jason Tlusty became emotional describing Capt. Tennant, who also was killed in the blast.
Tlusty described Tennant as an active community member "who would do anything to help those in need."
Twelve hours into the investigation authorities said it remained unclear whether the two devices were related.
A multi-agency investigation involving federal, state, county and city police agencies is investigating, coordinated by the Marion County Sheriff's Office working with an interagency team of investigators and the Marion County District Attorney's Office.
Anyone with information is asked to call the tip line at 800-800-3855.