Man Arrested for Questioning in Utah Fatal Bombing Cases

Associated Press

A man was arrested Saturday for questioning in three bombings apparently related to documents pertaining to the early years of the Mormon Church, police said. Two persons were killed and another suspect was seriously injured in the blasts.

Shannon Patrick Flynn, 27, was arrested after an early morning search of his suburban condominium and charged with illegal possession of a machine gun, said Jerry Miller, agent in charge of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Miller said that Flynn was an associate of Mark Hofmann, a document dealer seriously injured in a bombing Wednesday. Police said Hofmann remains the chief suspect in the bombings.


Agents found a Uzi submachine gun, other suspected illegal firearms and evidence related to the bombings at Flynn’s condominium, Miller said. Authorities also were seeking a search warrant for a storage shed “where we believe there are explosive materials,” he said.

Flynn was being held at the Salt Lake County jail, Police Chief Bud Willoughby said.

His arrest was the first in the case, although authorities have said they are preparing evidence against Hofmann and plan to arrest and charge him in the bombings sometime this week. He is under guard at LDS Hospital, recovering from injuries suffered when a bomb blew the top off his car.

Police believe that the explosion was accidental, unlike two blasts Tuesday that killed a Mormon bishop and the wife of another.

Flynn was a partner of Hofmann, and was helping to negotiate transactions involving five fragments of papyrus that Hofmann contended were part of the so-called McLellin Collection, said Ed Ashment, a historian.

The collection, not yet seen by Mormon officials, is a large and valuable group of historical documents containing accounts of the early years of the Mormon Church.

Meanwhile, a Mormon Church official said the “White Salamander Letter,” which links Hofmann with those killed in the Tuesday blasts, will be examined for authenticity by FBI experts in Washington. The letter, purportedly written by an early follower of church founder Joseph Smith Jr., describes how a spirit which had transformed itself from a white salamander had appeared to Smith. The letter runs counter to official church accounts.