Investigators not sure if bombing was targeted or random
|Updated: 2/06/2009 9:54 am
||Published: 2/04/2009 10:11 am
A car bombing in West Memphis has investigators asking several questions. Who would do it? Why? And did the bomber want Dr. Trent Pierce dead, or is this just a random act of mayhem?
Dr. Pierce, a prominent Arkansas doctor, is in critical condition at Memphis’s Regional Medical Center. The explosion took one of his eyes, burned his face and sent shrapnel into his body. Those who know Dr. Pierce say they can't imagine anyone doing something like this intentionally.
More than 300 people packed the First United Methodist Church in West Memphis, Dr. Pierce’s home church, for a closed vigil to pray for him. You don’t get very far in West Memphis without running into someone he has treated.
“My husband and I have gone to him. He’s our family doctor. He is well liked,” says neighbor Cindy Adams.
Adams, a neighbor, says she heard the bomb blast that threw Dr. Pierce 6 feet from his Lexus SUV into the flowerbed in his yard. She drove by his home minutes later. “We looked over and I actually saw them pulling Dr. Pierce out of the flowerbed. At first I thought it was his wife. Then my little girl looked over at me and I just told her not to look,” Adams said.
“I know Dr. Pierce very well. He is my physician. I know his wife very well. They are very kind, sweet and gentle people. There is absolutely no reason anybody should do this,” said West Memphis Police Chief Bob Paudert.
The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives is leading the investigation with the help of the FBI, State Police and West Memphis Police. They are all collecting evidence and spent the day trying to figure out exactly who could have done this.
The bomb went off around 8am, the time Dr. Pierce usually gets in his car to go to work but authorities can’t tell us exactly what the bomb was made of or whether it was in the vehicle, on it, under it or near it. They can only say that the bomb was planted there on purpose.
“We have explosive experts on site, as well as our national labs that will analyze evidence and try to assist us in determining the nature of the device,” Stuart Lowery with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives said.
“We don’t know if this was a random act or if it was specifically targeting Dr. Trent Pierce. But we want to find out,” Chief Paudert said.
Dr. Pierce has spent more than a decade on the Arkansas State Medical Board licensing and disciplining doctors. The bomb went off as Dr. Pierce prepared to visit Little Rock for a board meeting.
ATF is encouraging anyone with information to contact its tip line at 1-888-ATF-BOMB.