DENVER (AP) — The man behind a small explosion last month that rattled nerves because of its proximity to a Colorado NAACP office was actually targeting an accountant he was upset with, according to court documents filed Friday.
Thaddeus Murphy, 44, admitted to making a pipe bomb because he was distraught over financial problems, the documents allege. He said he was upset because the accountant wouldn’t return his phone calls or give him back his tax records.
Murphy has been arrested on suspicion of arson of a building and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was due to appear in federal court later Friday.
The accountant ran his business from the same building as offices of the Colorado Springs chapter of the NAACP.
No one was hurt in the explosion adjacent to a wall of Mr. G’s Hair Design Studios, a barber shop, and damages were minor.
The crude device failed to ignite a canister of gasoline placed next to it. But the FBI said at the time that even if the canister had ignited, it probably would have caused only minor damage.
Still, the blast gained national attention due to its proximity to the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, and the FBI investigated it as a possible hate crime.
Murphy said he believed the accountant intentionally destroyed his tax records, according to the court documents.
He told investigators he learned to make a pipe bomb online and built it in his garage using a shotgun shell and fireworks fuses, the records said.
Investigators searched his house and found five firearms, which he is not allowed to have because he is a convicted felon.
“Murphy admitted the rationale for the pipe bomb was rage,” the documents say.
No one answered the phone Friday at the NAACP offices.