COLORADO SPRINGS, CO. — A motive still has not been determined for an explosion near a building that housed the Colorado Springs, Colorado NAACP branch earlier this month, but in the interim federal investigators are treating the investigation into the blast much like a hate crime, National NAACP President Cornell William Brooks told NBC News.
“The FBI has not been able to identify a motive — they’re not officially calling it a hate crime — but they’re devoting resources to [the investigation] as though it were,” said Brooks, following a debriefing Friday evening from representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Colorado Springs Police Department.
He said he could not disclose any further details about the incident or what was discussed in the closed-door meeting, which also included Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach. “What I can tell you is that we’ve been assured that all resources are being deployed. They’re taking this very seriously.”
Brooks, who heads the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, arrived in the bedroom community about 70 miles outside of Denver hours earlier to meet privately with investigators and join in a weekend of community events dubbed a show of “solidarity and unity” in response to the Jan. 6 blast.
The building’s exterior suffered minor damage, but no injuries were reported among the volunteers working inside the NAACP office or other businesses in the same building. A can of gasoline next to the homemade device failed to ignite investigators said, but according to local chapter president Henry D. Allen, Jr.the explosion rattled walls and sent items crashing down.
Allen, who was not present at the time, said although security measures have been beefed up in the aftermath, the bombing has heightened his concerns about the safety.
“I’m very concerned about their safety; they’re all volunteers,” he said of his staff. “They come in here on a completely voluntary basis because they want to do this work. It’s something that I worry about; as president I bear that responsibility.”