A Colorado man was arrested late Thursday on arson charges and for being a felon in possession of firearms in connection with the January pipe-bomb explosion outside a building that houses the Colorado Springs chapter of the NAACP, the Washington Post reports.
The man, Thaddeus Murphy, 44, reportedly admitted to placing the homemade explosive device outside the building on Jan. 6, but he claims that he was not targeting the civil rights organization, according to the Post, which cites court documents. Instead, he says the explosive was directed at a tax-services accountant who also once used the same building, the report notes.
Murphy allegedly told investigators that he made the device because he was in financial distress and the accountant whose office was once housed in the building had failed to respond to his phone calls or emails, the report says.
During a search of Murphy’s home, police allegedly recovered seven firearms as well as explosive devices similar to the one used at the building, the report notes.
The blast made headlines after media outlets initially gave it little attention, generating outrage from activists who insisted that the explosion was a targeted attack against the civil rights organization, the Post writes. FBI and local officials, however, said they were not certain that the NAACP branch was the target.
NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks released a statement Friday applauding the arrest and the continuation of the investigation. “The NAACP appreciates the swift efforts of both local and federal authorities in Colorado Springs in arresting and charging a suspect in the explosion incident at our Colorado Springs branch office,” Brooks said in the statement. “We seek a continued investigation into the motive of the alleged suspect and we look forward to the culmination of his criminal trial. We will remain vigilant as we continue fighting for civil and human rights in Colorado Springs and throughout the country.”
Read more at the Washington Post.