On this day April 19, 1995

A car bomb was detonated in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA, killing 168 people and injuring over 800 others.

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Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building

It was the largest terrorist attack on American soil in history before the September 11 attacks. It remains the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in American history.

Shortly after the explosion, Oklahoma State Trooper Charlie Hanger stopped 26-year-old Timothy McVeigh for driving without a license plate and arrested him for that offense and for unlawfully carrying a weapon.

Within days, McVeigh and Terry Nichols were both arrested for their roles in the bombing. Investigators determined that they were sympathizers of a militia movement and that their motive was to retaliate against the government’s handling of the Waco and Ruby Ridge incidents (the bombing occurred on the anniversary of the Waco incident).

The Waco Siege began on February 28, 1993 when the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) attempted to execute a search warrant at the Branch Davidian ranch at Mount Carmel, a property located nine miles (14 km) east-northeast of Waco, Texas.

An exchange of gunfire resulted in the deaths of four agents and six followers of David Koresh. A subsequent 51-day siege by the Federal Bureau of Investigation ended on April 19 when fire destroyed the compound. Seventy-six people (24 of them British nationals) died in the fire, including more than 20 children and two pregnant women, along with Davidian leader Vernon Wayne Howell, better known as David Koresh.

McVeigh was executed by lethal injection on June 11, 2001 while Nichols was sentenced to life in prison. A third conspirator, Michael Fortier, who testified against McVeigh and Nichols, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for failing to warn the U.S. government. As with other large scale terrorist attacks, conspiracy theories dispute the official claims and point to additional perpetrators involved.

The attacks led to widespread rescue efforts from local, state, federal, and worldwide agencies, as well as considerable donations from across the country. As a result of the destruction of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the U.S. government passed legislation designed to increase protection around federal buildings and to thwart future terrorist attacks. Under these measures, law enforcement has since foiled over sixty domestic terrorism plots.

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