Two Sunday morning explosions targeting separate churches in Las Cruces, New Mexico are under FBI investigation.
The first explosion occurred around 8:00 a.m. at Calvary Baptist Church in their mailbox according to a report from The Conservative Outpost.
The second occurred about a half hour later at the Church of the Holy Cross, in an outdoor garbage bin.
ABC news reported that the two explosions at the churches have prompted an investigation by the FBI and several other law enforcement agencies.
State Police Chief Pete Kassetas says the acts were intended to terrorize churchgoers, but couldn’t confirm at this time if it was an act of terrorism or if the two incidents are related.
Governor Susana Martinez stated only a coward would place an explosive device in a church. She promised to bring justice to the attacker, and encouraged people to continue attending church.
A former Marine attending church recognized parts of the bomb as being real.
Dennis Llewellyn, who described himself as a former Marine, said the blast sounded like a Claymore.
Llewellyn said he was handing out pamphlets at Calvary Baptist, preparing for the 8:30 a.m. service, when he heard a “boom.”
Less than 30 minutes later, another explosive device detonated in a trash bin outside the Holy Cross Catholic Church, police said. Church services were already under way at the time.
“That explosion occurred near the front entrance in a — like a Rubbermaid-style trash can that was outside of the front doors of that church,” Dan Trujillo of the Las Cruces Police Department said.
“The trash can was right near a front entranceway and had there been somebody within close proximity, they may have well been injured.”
Monsignor John Anderson told the Las Cruces Sun-News he heard a loud “pow” sound.
“I knew it had to be more than a gunshot,” he said.
Parishioner Ann Marie Sullivan said, according to the Sun-News, “It sounded like something had fallen off and shattered the glass in the back.”
Minor damage was reported at both churches, and both have been closed, police said.