The Spokane office of the FBI confirmed late Tuesday morning that a suspicious package found along the route of the Unity Parade on Monday morning was a credible threat that had the potential to cause "multiple casualties."
On Tuesday morning the FBI released a statement confirming that following the successful disruption of the device by the Explosives Disposal Unit, ?preliminary analysis revealed the backpack contained a potentially deadly destructive device, likely capable of inflicting multiple casualties.?
The backpack, a black Swiss Army pack, was found by a city employee Monday morning at approximately 9:30 a.m. in a parking lot across from the INB Performing Arts Center. After it was reported, authorities shut down several blocks in the vicinity of the intersection of Main Avenue and Washington Street.
This forced a detour in the parade route, which had been scheduled to move past where the device was found.
With Spokane police providing the cordon around the threat, the Explosives Disposal Unit was called in to investigate the package. A robot was sent up to the package several times, and around 1 p.m., the team successfully disrupted the device.
In addition to the Explosives Disposal Unit, a hazardous materials team was called in to investigate the package throughout the afternoon and into the early-evening hours. It has not been clarified why the HazMat team was called in to assist with the investigation.
The FBI confirmed the device was contained in a Swiss Army backpack which contained several T-shirts, including a Stevens County Relay For Life 2010 shirt and a Treasure Island Spring 2009 shirt. See the FBI Request For Information (PDF) for pictures of the pack and shirts found inside.
FBI special agent Frank Harrill said the investigation into the device has become a top priority, adding that the timing and placement of the device wasn't coincidental.
A $20,000 reward has been offered up by the FBI for information regarding the identity of the person or persons that may have been seen with this backpack from approximately 8 a.m. to 9:25 a.m. on Monday. If anyone has any information regarding this incident, they are requested to immediately contact the FBI.
In addition, if anyone took photographs or video in the area of Washington Street and Main Avenue from approximately 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., they are also requested to contact the FBI as soon as possible.
You can contact the FBI at (206) 622-0460 or by e-mail at email@example.com