It was anything but a calm Sunday today in Las Cruces. Two separate church explosions, each about 20 minutes apart, caused concern in the second-largest city in New Mexico.
According to USA Today, the first bomb explosion in Las Cruces occurred at Calvary Baptist Church at about 8:20 a.m. The bomb was planted in a mailbox at the Las Cruces church’s administrative entrance. Although church hadn’t started yet, there were many attendants in the building. The bomb caused mostly paper debris to scatter.
Around 8:40 a.m., Holy Cross Catholic Church was targeted next. This Las Cruces bomb was planted in a trash can outside the church near the front glass doors. The glass doors were shattered when the bomb went off, and Monsignor John Anderson, who was helping to pass Communion, tried to keep calm.
“I was right in the middle of saying the words ‘take and eat, this is my body’ and there was a ‘pow!’ I mean, I knew it had to be more than a gunshot. I didn’t know if it was a shotgun blast, I didn’t know what. But it was very loud and I just kept on saying the words.”
Luckily, no one was hurt in either Las Cruces church bomb incident, according to Reuters.
The Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad, New Mexico State Police, an NMSU canine unit, the FBI, and the ATF are working together to investigate the bombs in Las Cruces.
For now, the police were not saying what types of bombs were used at the Las Cruces churches or whether the bombs were connected to any particular motive.
“Just the fact that they were at churches the same day a half an hour apart or so, that leads us to believe it could be something related,” said Las Cruces police spokesman Dan Trujillo.
Calvary Baptist member Dennis Llewellyn was outside the church when the bomb went off. He claims he was a special forces member with the Marines and could spot the bomb pieces after he saw them. He remembers seeing an Eveready battery. He said the explosion was loud, while another member of the church, who was inside at the time of the explosion, said it shook the building.
To help the community stand strong together, a local faith group planned to hold a vigil on Sunday evening. The gathering will be held at Pioneer Women’s Park in Las Cruces.
[Photo by Robin Zielinski/The Las Cruces Sun-News]