Investigators have found some similarities in the bombs exploded at a nightclub Friday and an abortion clinic last month, a federal official said Sunday.
“We are certainly exploring the possibility that they were made by the same person or group, but we are not ignoring the possibility that they were not,” said Bobby Browning, a spokesman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Five people were injured when a nail-packed device exploded late Friday in a rear patio area of the Otherside Lounge. Police found a second bomb nearby and detonated it with a remote-controlled robot. Last month, two bombs exploded an hour apart outside an abortion clinic, injuring seven people.
ABC News reported Sunday that a number of components in the nightclub and abortion clinic bombs--specifically the wiring, timing and dynamite--were so similar that officials believe that they were made by the same person or group.
Responding to the report, Browning said: “There are some similarities in the construction of the devices, but there are some differences too.”
Mayor Bill Campbell on Sunday called the bombing of the predominantly gay and lesbian nightclub a hate crime. But investigators said it was too early to determine a motive for the city’s second bomb attack since the blast at Centennial Olympic Park last summer that killed one person.
“Anyone who plants an explosive device that targets a particular group is expressing hatred,” Campbell said. “Gays and lesbians were targeted in the first bomb. Law enforcement officials were targeted with the second one.”
A national ATF response team combed the area Sunday, searching for clues. More than 50 federal agents are on the case, including the same task force investigating the Jan. 16 abortion clinic bombing.
A second device--apparently intended for police and rescue workers--exploded about an hour later outside the clinic in suburban Sandy Springs.
“The secondary devices are unusual. There hadn’t been one used in the United States for more than 30 years until last month in Atlanta. Typically, they are aimed at first responders,” said FBI spokesman Jay Spadafore.
“I think the agents know to keep a low profile after Sandy Springs.”
There have been no arrests in any of the bombings.