District Attorney Mark D’Antonio stated, “We have already initiated contact and are working side by side with federal, state and county law enforcement agencies. I was briefed by the Sheriff shortly after the incident happened. This cowardly act of intimidation will not now or ever be tolerated by the citizens of Dona Ana County. The District Attorney’s Office stands ready to do whatever it takes to bring the individual or individuals to justice.”
A press release from Las Cruces Police Department revealed the following:
Federal, state and local partners are investigating the detonation of explosive devices outside two Las Cruces churches on Sunday morning.
No injuries were reported and only minor damage was done at Calvary Baptist Church and Holy Cross Catholic Church. Calvary Baptist Church at 1800 Locust St. and Holy Cross is at 1327 N. Miranda St. The two churches are separated by slightly more than three miles.
At around 8:20 a.m., Las Cruces Police were dispatched to Calvary Baptist Church, at 1800 Locust St., where it was learned a mailbox had been damaged by an explosive device. The mailbox was located on a wall near the administrative entrance to the church. Several worshippers were gathering inside the church as services were set to begin at 8:30 a.m.
At around 8:40 a.m., police were dispatched to Holy Cross Catholic Church, at 1327 N. Miranda St., where an explosive device detonated inside a trash receptacle near the front entrance of the parish. Church services there began at 8 a.m. and were underway at the time of the explosion in the trash receptacle. Parishioners were evacuated through another exit.
The multi-agency investigation is being conducted by the Las Cruces Police Department; Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office; New Mexico State Police; New Mexico State University Police; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and the Department of Homeland Security.
Law enforcement recommends churchgoers and others within the community maintain vigilance, and immediately report any suspicious circumstances. Anyone who notices suspicious packages or persons is asked to call (575) 526-0795 or 911 if it’s an emergency. The FBI has a toll-free telephone number for anyone who has tips related to these incidents. That FBI Hotline is 1-800-CALL-FBI.
Photo credit: Las Cruces Sun News