Explosions Reported At Two Las Cruces Churches
Officials are investigating similar but separate explosions reported at two Las Cruces churches on Sunday morning.
The Las Cruces Sun-News reported that one explosion took place just after 8 a.m. inside a mailbox near Calvary Baptist Church on Locust Street. Police said a similar explosion took place half an hour later near Holy Cross Church on Miranda Avenue.
Both churches were evacuated and parts of both Miranda Avenue and Locust Street were closed to traffic on Sunday morning while police continued to investigate. No injuries have been reported. It appears as if the FBI will be joining the investigation, according to KOAT-TV in Albuquerque. According to numerous reports on social media, other churches in the area were evacuated as a precaution.
Preliminary reports indicated the explosions may have been caused by bundles of fireworks in the mailboxes. However, one Calvary Baptist parishioner, a Marine, said he saw part of an actual bomb, including a battery, according to the Sun-News.
"It was a real bomb, I saw all the parts," said Cavalry Baptist member Dennis Llewellyn, who said he was outside the church when the explosive went off. Llewellyn said he was a former special forces member with the Marines and recognized the bomb parts that included an Everready battery. He and fellow church member Mike Stewart kept those churchgoers arriving for the 8:30 a.m. service from going into the building during the five to 10 minutes it took for police to arrive. Stewart was the one to notice the debris and damaged mailbox, the two men said. -- Las Cruces Sun-News
Here's an interview with one parishioner with details from the scene, courtesy of the Sun-News: