FBI weighs role in Coos Bay chapel bomb investigation

| September 6, 2013

COOS BAY — The Coos Bay Police Department has released an artist's rendering of a man it says is a person of interest in the fire and attempted bombing at The Prayer Chapel Tuesday night.

The sketch, drawn from eyewitness accounts, depicts a white man in his mid-50s with a shaved head.

Police said was described as between 5-feet 6-inches and 5-feet 7-inches tall, and weighing approximately 150 pounds.

The sketch is the first information law enforcement have released regarding suspects in the investigation, which now involves the FBI.

“We’re actually working jointly with Coos Bay police,” said Holly Fauerso, a spokeswoman for the bureau's Portland field office. “The bombing could fall under state laws or under federal laws under Title 18.”

Title 18 of the U.S. Code gives federal law enforcement broad jurisdiction over explosives and arson investigations, including church arsons, which were specifically criminalized under the Church Arson Prevention Act of 1996.

In a press release Wednesday, Capt. Chris Chapanar of the Coos Bay Police Department said the device was discovered by firefighters arriving at the chapel shortly before 5 p.m., after a passing beverage delivery man noticed smoke coming from inside the building.

Multiple officers and a detective from the Coos Bay Police Department arrived shortly after fire personnel and quickly taped off the area.

Firefighters had the blaze contained within an hour, and the building incurred no readily apparent exterior damage.

 

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Category: Church Security

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