FBI Joins UC Firebombings Investigation

August 4, 2008 11:47:14 PM PDT
A major reward is being offered, after two firebomb attacks against U.C. Santa Cruz researchers. One blast targeted a home with small children and now the FBI is investigating whether animal rights activists are responsible.

The Santa Cruz community staged a rally on Monday to protest the fire bombings. They're encouraging discourse not destruction. Earlier on Monday, the mayor of Santa Cruz and police chief spoke with one voice in condemning the Saturday attacks targeting two university biomedical researchers.

"Let me be clear, this is not protest, this is terrorism," said Mayor Ryan Coonerty of Santa Cruz.

A $30,000 reward is being offered for the arrest and conviction of the people responsible for the firebombing at the home of David Feldheim. He, his wife, and two young children were forced to escape out a second story window and down a fire ladder. Four minutes earlier, a car bombing took place on campus. Investigators say they have collected a significant amount of forensic evidence from both locations and are working other leads.

"We do have some witness statements of people leaving the area. We do have some information that was telephoned to us. We are reviewing surveillance video from various locations through the city," said Chief Howard Skerry, of the Santa Cruz Police Department.

Feldheim's home address was one of several listed in a pamphlet printed by animal rights extremes and left in a Santa Cruz coffee shop last week. UC Santa Cruz students are also outraged by the attacks which the FBI classifies as domestic terrorism.

"It was carried out it was planned. As you know there was a hit list put out last week. If that's not the definition of terrorism, I don't know what is," said Brian Heffern, a UCSC student.

Police say extra security measures are being taken to protect the researchers and their families. U.C. Santa Cruz is in summer session, but everyone is being warned to be alert.

"We're telling them to be aware of their surroundings, call 911, call university police, if anything they see anything amiss if something looks wrong, but be very aware, increase your awareness," said Guy Lasnier, a UCSC spokesperson.

The police chief is asking anyone to think about Saturday mornings, between the hours of 3 a.m. ? 6 a.m. and if anything to them looks suspicious to call that information in to the police department. They are actively perusing every lead.


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