Surgeons Fail to Save Hand of Girl Injured When She Picked Up Bomb

From United Press International

Surgeons failed Tuesday to save the hand of a 5-year-old girl who was wounded in a department store by the explosion of a small pipe bomb.

Sgt. John Brooks, a bomb expert from the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, said Erin Bower was holding the device Monday night when it exploded as she, her parents and 1-year-old sister shopped at the store.

Erin was listed in serious but stable condition in Methodist Hospital, where doctors amputated her left hand after attempting to reattach four of her fingers. The bomb blew away all but her little finger and took about 80% of her palm, officials said.


Investigators said the bomb was hidden inside a pump toothpaste-type container that exploded when the girl picked it up at the K mart store in suburban Castleton. Two men who were seen walking out of the store after the explosion were being sought for questioning, but officials said there was no hard evidence linking them to the bomb.

Charles Petersen, agent in charge of the Indianapolis office of the U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Division, described the device as a pipe bomb containing black powder and BBs.

Erin, who also sustained injuries to the left eye and abdomen, took the toothpaste container from a shelf and held it a few seconds before it exploded, Brooks said. He said the bomb apparently had a delayed, pressure-sensitive timing device that was activated when it was disturbed.