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20 - A Bomb Next Door

One day at work I remember clearly, from what went on outside of work. My wife knew not to call me. I was always back-to-back with clients and harried. So I knew something urgent had happened when the voicemail from her began: “Don’t worry, it’s okay, nothing to worry about, everything’s fine, nothing to worry about, no big deal, but a bomb just blew up in the driveway and police are evacuating me.”

Needless to say, I raced home, asking support staff to truthfully tell clients there was a family emergency. When I got to the house there were police in RoboCop-like armor with mirrors on sticks walking around looking under cars on the street.

The bomb squad had decided there was no further threat and my wife had been allowed back in the house. She described the explosion as like someone had lifted the house up and slammed it back down. The driveway next to our house belonged to our neighbors. She had seen our neighbor lying on the ground, his leg a mangled mess and been among the first to call 911.

For the weeks until the bomber was arrested, all the neighbors remained on edge. Would there be further violence?

I had been working in the driveway the weekend before, repairing our fence. The fence held up well, though we had shrapnel in our backyard. A hole was punched in the neighbor’s garage and a house across the street had a window smashed. Our home was right near the school, where our kids were held in lockdown after the bomb went off. And our neighbor wound up with a prosthetic leg.

Detectives ultimately determined the target of the bomb had been our neighbor’s son. A former “boyfriend” of his current girlfriend had been jealous. The former “boyfriend” was 41, the girl had been 13.

Due to problems with the search warrant, the prosecutor had to let the pedophile bomber take a plea, dropping 14 additional charges and winding up with a 12-year sentence.


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