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Doctor remains hospitalized; security measures taken at medical board

The ATF and West Memphis police need help finding whoever set off a car bomb that critically injured an Arkansas doctor.
The ATF and West Memphis police need help finding whoever set off a car bomb that critically injured an Arkansas doctor.  It happened at the home of Dr. Trent Pierce Wednesday. Thursday evening, authorities held a press conference asking anyone with information to call them.

There is still no a motive, but leads continue to come in.  During a press conference at the West Memphis police department investigators tell us they are following more than 50 leads which have come in through hot lines and calls to the police department.

"We're not sure if physicians are being targeted, we're not sure if this is a random act or specific target,” said Police Chief Robert Peudert.

"The bomb can be constructed in many different ways. Many different configurations using different types of materials... it's only limited to the imagination of the maker. Let's be clear, the purpose is to kill people," Stuart Lowery with the ATF.

The explosion left Pierce in critical condition with burns, shrapnel injuries, and blind in his left eye. "He can hear and he is responsive, although he is not talking, so she (his wife) is very encouraged. The doctor gave her a very encouraging report and the family is very optimistic and upbeat about his recovery," Chief Peudert said.

During the press conference, investigators asked for more help from the public. "We need to stress there may be information out there that people may not recognize as significant to the investigation. We would encourage you to call in with anything you might have seen."

Authorities are especially interested in information regarding anything between the hours of 7:30 Tuesday night when Dr. Peirce got home and 8am Wednesday when the bomb went off. Evidence from the scene is being processed at the ATF lab in Atlanta. If you have any information you are asked to call 888-atf-bomb.

Investigators not sure if bombing was targeted or random

Chairman of the Arkansas State Medical Board was injured in a bombing in February 2009 in front of his home in West Memphis
Chairman of the Arkansas State Medical Board was injured in a bombing in February 2009 in front of his home in West Memphis
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.

Governor Beebe reacts to bombing news

Doctor 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.
When his colleagues in Little Rock heard that an explosive device in his car caused this explosion they couldn't believe it.

“This is terrible tragedy. For anyone to endure this type of injury and violence and for man who has given his life treating patients, there is just no justification for it,” said Arkansas Medical Board attorney Bill Trice.

The board meeting went on as scheduled but Little Rock Police stayed close by. Right now no one knows if this happened because of his position on the board or if his colleagues are in danger.
 
“Nothing comes to mind that would bring this course of action or this kind of tragedy and violence,” Trice said.

“We’re hoping for law enforcement authorities to be able to quickly get to the bottom of what happened. One of the things we’ve tried to do is make sure that all the other members of state medical board are cautious and alert. We don’t know if that had anything to do with it,” Governor Mike Beebe said.

Both the Governor and Trice say their thoughts and prayers are with the Pierce Family.
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