FBI hunt suspect as bombs are found in Columbine mall on 12th anniversary of massacre

  • Two propane tanks and a pipe bomb uncovered
  • Police probe possible link to high school massacre
  • CCTV image shows man sought by FBI
Detectives are hunting a suspected terrorist after two propane tanks and a pipe bomb were found in a mall just two miles from Columbine High School on the 12th anniversary of the chilling massacre.
Investigators were today probing possible connections between the 1999 tragedy and yesterday’s discovery which came after a blaze broke out near the store's food court.
The FBI has now released two surveillance pictures of a 'person of interest' sought in connection with the fire which started at around noon at the Southwest Plaza Mall in Littleton, suburban Denver.
Suspect: CCTV shows a 'person of interest' sought after explosives were found at a mall in Littleton, Colorado, on the 12th anniversary of the Columbine massacre
Suspect: CCTV shows a 'person of interest' sought after explosives were found at a mall in Littleton, Colorado, on the 12th anniversary of the Columbine massacre
The man pictured is white with greying hair. He has a silver moustache and was wearing a dark coloured cap with a light-coloured logo on the front.
He was also wearing a grey and white horizontally striped shirt, a dark jacket with silver buttons, blue jeans and dark coloured shoes. Video surveillance recordings showed a bag-toting man enter a private-access mall corridor.
Evidence found at the scene has been traced back to a Target furniture store across the street from the mall where potential witnesses were being questioned today.
Crime scene: The Southwest Plaza Mall where two propane tanks and a pipe bomb were found by fire-fighters yesterday after a blaze broke out
Crime scene: The Southwest Plaza Mall where two propane tanks and a pipe bomb were found by fire-fighters yesterday after a blaze broke out
Up to 10,000 shoppers and 300 employees were evacuated from the mall following the fire. No one was injured and the bombs did not explode but the location and timing of the incident has been termed ‘disturbing’.
Unexploded pipe bombs and a propane tank with explosives attached were found at Columbine High School after two student gunmen killed 13 people and themselves on April 20, 1999.
‘The fact that has happened on April 20, 12 years later, near the school and with similar devices is very disturbing,’ Jefferson County sheriff's spokeswoman Jacki Kelley said.
‘It's something that can't be ignored’.
Eric Harris practices shooting a weapon at a makeshift shooting range March 6, 1999
Dylan Klebold fires a sawed-off shotgun at a makeshift shooting range March 6, 1999
Chilling practise: Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris at a makeshift shooting range March 6, 1999 in Douglas County, Colorado, about six weeks before the massacre
Through the years, students across the country have been accused of threats and incidents modelled on Columbine.
FBI spokesman Dave Joly said authorities have identified a possible person of interest, but no details were immediately available.
He said it was too early to speculate on whether the incident was an act of terrorism.
The pipe bomb was found around 5 pm. A bomb squad team had been drafted in to detonate the device but it fell apart when investigators picked it up, reports suggested today.
There was no fire damage and only one security guard was treated for smoke inhalation.
On a normal day some 6,000 to 10,000 people flock to the mall at lunchtime.
Caught on film: Columbine High School killers Eric Harris (l) and Dylan Klebold (r) pictured on a surveillance tape in the canteen at Columbine High Schoo
Caught on film: Columbine High School killers Eric Harris (l) and Dylan Klebold (r) pictured on a surveillance tape in the canteen at Columbine High School
Today about 25 schools in the area were on ‘lockout’ as a precaution, meaning access was being restricted to one point, The Denver Post reported.
Classes had been cancelled at Columbine High School in remembrance of those who died in the shootings.
In total, 12 students and one teacher were killed after pupils Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, tore through the school, firing automatic weapons and throwing homemade bombs.
The teenagers, dressed in balaclavas and trench coats, later turned their weapons on themselves. Their bodies were found in the library.
A bomb, which they hoped would destroy the crowded cafeteria, failed to go off.
In memory: Miniature crosses are displayed in Clement Park, Littleton, Colorado, to commemorate the disaster's ten-year anniversary in 2009
In memory: Miniature crosses are displayed in Clement Park, Littleton, Colorado, to commemorate the disaster's ten-year anniversary in 2009
The Colorado shooting was one of a spate of killings at US high schools. It represented the greatest loss of life in any such incident at the time.
Soon afterwards US Vice-President Al Gore backed a bill to bring in tougher gun controls but it was thrown out by the US Congress.
In April 2001 the families of most of the victims of the Columbine school shootings were awarded $2.5m (£1.8m) after suing the gunmen's parents and the men who sold them the weapons.
Eight years after the Columbine attack, a 23-year-old student killed 32 people and himself at Virginia Tech University in what became the United States' worst mass-shooting.
 
 
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