Las Cruces, NM – Two churches were attacked by unknown suspect(s) in Las Cruces Sunday morning. Both devices were left in either a mail box or trash can at the respective churches.
Calvary Baptist Church reported an explosion at approximately 8:20 AM and Holy Cross Catholic Church reported another explosion at approximatley 8:40 AM.
According to KOB.com:
“LCPD said a mailbox exploded shortly after 8 a.m. on the 1800 block of Locust Street at the Calvary Baptist Church.
The mailbox was located on a wall near the administrative entrance to the church. Police learned that several worshippers were gathering inside the church, but services had not yet begun at the time of the explosion.
A similar explosion occurred 20 minutes later in a trash can near the Holy Cross Church on Miranda Avenue. Church services were underway and parishioners were evacuated through another exit.
The explosive device at Holy Cross caused damage to the trash container and to the glass entryway.
Both churches are closed to the public as law enforcement gather evidence and conduct their investigation.
Several agencies are assisting in the investigation, including the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and New Mexico State Police.
LCPD says investigators are following several leads, but no one is in custody at this time.
State Police Chief Pete Kassetas said they cannot link the attack to any one group, but when asked if it could be considered a terrorist attack, he said: “I can’t imagine sitting in a place of worship and hearing that sound of something explosive going off, so that itself for me as a state police chief leads me to think it terrorizes people.”