A Maryland police officer escaped unharmed after a pipe bomb placed on top of his department SUV exploded just minutes after he drove home.
The August 3 blast took out the SUV's windshield, damaged the hood and left people rattled in the suburban Maryland community of Thurmont, but the officer wasn't injured, according to WJLA.
Now agents from the federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are helping local authorities investigate the incident. No one has been arrested so far, and police haven't named any suspects.
The blast was powerful enough that it could have killed or seriously injured the officer -- who was not named in reports -- if he had still been driving the car when it detonated, WJLA reported.
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“If you attack my officers or anybody in this town, I take it personally,” Thurmont Police Chief Gregory Eyler told WTOP.
Eyler told reporters the bomb was homemade and not sophisticated.
“It had about maybe an eight-inch cylinder with the two caps on it and the fuse of course,” Eyler said. “You can go to a hardware store and buy it; you get on the internet and make it. It’s as simple as it can be. Unfortunate, but it is simple.”
The blast was so powerful it rattled windows a block away, police said.
“It went off so loud that I jumped out of bed,” said Wes Wales, a neighbor who lives down the street. Wales is hard of hearing and didn't have his hearing aide in when the pipe bomb exploded, but he still heard the blast.
Authorities haven't said definitively if the bomb was placed as a retaliatory act against police in general over simmering racial tensions in the wake of other police-involved shootings, but Eyler said he believes that's the case.
“We don’t know if [the officer] was an actual target or if it was police in general with everything that’s gone on around the nation,” Eyler said. “It’s getting out of hand across the nation. I know the police are getting blamed for everything and, yes, there are bad cops, but there’s a lot of good cops. We’re not at fault for everything that goes on in this country, so we do take it personally and we’re going to find out who actually did this.”