Oregon bank blast kills police officer, bomb expert - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Oregon bank blast kills police officer, bomb expert

WOODBURN, Ore. (AP) - A bomb explosion at a bank killed both a police officer and a state bomb disposal technician, and no suspects are yet in custody, officials said Saturday.

"That person is dangerous and needs to be found as soon as possible," said Oregon State Police Lt. Gregg Hastings.

The explosion occurred Friday afternoon at a West Coast Bank branch office in the agricultural town of Woodburn, which is nearly 30 miles south of Portland.

Police went to check on a telephoned bomb threat received by a Wells Fargo branch bank in the center of town and found a suspicious device, but that device was determined to be harmless. But police said the investigation there led them to the nearby West Coast office where the bomb was found.

Police wouldn't discuss a possible motive for the bombing. Hastings said he didn't know of any grudges against the West Coast Bank.

Woodburn police Capt. Tom Tennant and state Senior Trooper William Hakim, both 51, died at the scene.

Woodburn police Chief Scott Russell, 46, was injured and in stable but critical condition at a Portland hospital.

State police said the inside of the bank was extensively damaged, and a female employee was treated at a hospital and released. Another bank employee was uninjured.

Hastings declined to describe the bomb in detail but indicated it was powerful.

A bank employee found the bomb in bushes outside the bank, and it exploded after officers took it inside.

Hastings said he did not know why the officers took the bomb inside.

Police sealed the area around the bank, and it remained closed Saturday. "There's no indication of further devices," Hastings said.

Federal authorities said Saturday they were offering a $35,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.

Woodburn has a population of about 21,000 people.            

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)      

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