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Explosion outside Air Force recruiting center was domestic terrorism or a horrible prank

By: JUSTIN JUOZAPAVICIUS , Associated Press
July 11, 2017 Updated: July 11, 2017 at 9:59 am
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An explosion outside an Oklahoma Air Force recruiting center is being investigated as a possible act of domestic terrorism. Photo courtesy the Tulsa World.

TULSA, Okla. — An explosion outside an Oklahoma Air Force recruiting center is being investigated as a possible act of domestic terrorism, but the late-night blast could also have been a horrible prank, a federal agent said Tuesday.

Federal authorities said a device was set off around 10:30 p.m. Monday in front of the recruiting center in the Tulsa suburb of Bixby. The center was closed at the time and no one was injured. Authorities declined to specify the nature of the device.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokeswoman Meredith Davis said agents are treating the matter as a domestic act of terror "out of an abundance of caution," because of the proximity to the recruiting center, but that it could also have been a prank or an accident.

"There's no doubt that military offices have been targeted in shootings and explosions in the past, but we also see people blowing off their fingers or blowing up their garages," Davis said. "And sometimes people see cops make a U-turn and they throw stuff, or see them coming and throw something."

The door of the center was blown off in the blast and landed in a parking space in front of the storefront and soot-covered windows. The office is situated in a commercial area that also houses small businesses, restaurants and financial planning firms. There is a movie theater nearby.

ATF and FBI agents are scouring the area for video surveillance that might have captured someone placing the device or could show a vehicle containing suspects, Davis said.

"It's a two-pronged investigation," she said. "There will be work being conducted on scene and being conducted in the field, such as interviews and recovery of (video) surveillance."

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