COLORADO SPRINGS – A man was arrested this week in connection with a Jan. 6 bombing that damaged a local NAACP office in Colorado Springs. And authorities are saying they don’t believe the NAACP was the target.
John F. Walsh, the U.S. Attorney in Colorado, confirmed Thaddeus Murphy, 44, was arrested Thursday by federal law enforcement officials, who assumed control of the case in January and began investigating it as a hate crime on the chance the NAACP had been targeted.
Murphy told investigators, however, that he was targeting a tax preparation company in the same building, according to Walsh’s office. The investigation into Murphy’s motive for targeting the company was still ongoing as of Friday afternoon, Walsh indicated.
A business sign that reads “Income Tax” is attached to the same building that houses the Colorado Springs NAACP offices at 602 South El Paso Street. However, as of Friday morning, FOX31 Denver was unable to confirm the identity of that business. The building also houses Mr. G’s Hair Design Studios.
A witness told the FBI that on Jan. 6, a man with an object was walking in the alley behind the building before the bombing. The witness said the same man “returned to his truck empty-handed at the time of the explosion,” according to Tom Ravenelle, special agent in charge of the FBI Denver Division.
The bomb went off at 10:45 a.m. outside the business complex. There were no injuries and “only minimal surface charring to the exterior wall of the building,” the FBI said.
A gasoline tank was placed next to the improvised explosive device, but it did not ignite, police said. Ravenelle said the bomb was “not sophisticated.”
The NAACP said on its Facebook page the explosion knocked items off the office walls.
While executing a search warrant on Murphy’s residence, Walsh’s office indicated that seven firearms and devices similar to the one used at the building were discovered. Murphy has prior felony convictions, which made it illegal for him to possess the firearms.