El Cajon Man Indicted in Connection With Family Clinic Attack

Times Staff Writer

A five-count federal indictment was handed down Wednesday against the El Cajon man who confessed to building a pipe bomb found Monday at a San Diego family-planning center.

Eric Everett Svelmoe, 29, was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that include the possession and manufacture of a destructive device in connection with his alleged attack against the Family Planning Associates Medical Group, 6495 Alvarado Road.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Larry A. Burns declined to disclose the evidence that was presented before the grand jury. But an affidavit released by the U.S. District Court on Tuesday stated that Svelmoe, after his arrest by police and federal agents, confessed to building the pipe bomb, which was attached to a two-gallon can of gasoline.


Police had been maintaining a five-day surveillance of the clinic when they apprehended Svelmoe shortly after he allegedly planted the bomb under a stairway at the center, according to Sgt. Bill Campbell of the San Diego Police Department’s criminal intelligence unit.

Federal agents believe that Svelmoe did not act alone in the attempted bomb attack, said Charles Steimle, a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Campbell confirmed that a warrant to search the Spring Valley home of a woman who is a member of the Bible Missionary Fellowship--the same conservative religious congregation to which Svelmoe belonged--was issued Wednesday. The Santee-based Baptist group, led by the Rev. Dorman Owens, regularly pickets family-planning centers in the San Diego area.

But Campbell declined to say why that house was targeted or what, if anything, was found there relating to the case.

A detention hearing scheduled tentatively for today is expected to be postponed to Aug. 11, at the request of Svelmoe’s attorney, Burns said.

When the hearing is held, Burns said, he will ask that Svelmoe continue to be held without bail. Svelmoe is in the Metropolitan Correctional Center.


If convicted on all five counts, Svelmoe could face 35 years in jail and a $1-million fine.

The five counts listed in the indictment include possession of a destructive device; manufacture of a destructive device; interstate transportation of explosives; attempted bombing and arson of property affecting interstate commerce, and using and carrying a firearm during, and in relation to, a violent crime.