A package bomb exploded at a church in Beaumont, Texas, on Thursday, two weeks after police found another package bomb in the same town.
The package detonated at the front door of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church sometime after 3:00 a.m. Thursday morning, shattering windows, blowing holes in the walls, and scattering the package’s remnants, according to KHOU11. The blast did not injure anyone, but Episcopal Bishop of Texas C. Andrew Doyle issued a statement that the neighboring All Saints Episcopal School was evacuated and will remained closed along with the church “until further notice.”
Police Chief Jim Singletary’s department is conducting a joint investigation with the ATF and FBI, the chief announced at a Thursday afternoon press conference. He declined to comment on potential suspects, motives, components used in the bomb, or any connection to previous devices, citing the ongoing investigation. (RELATED: Police Fear More Explosives Remain After Death Of Suspected Austin Package Bomber)
Beaumont local Amanda Pena witnessed the blast when she woke after 3:00 a.m. to feed her baby, she said.
“There was like a light flash, and I thought maybe it was lightning or thunder, but it wasn’t,” Pena told KHOU11.
Police arrived at the church at 9:18 a.m. on Thursday to investigate “suspicious damage” after Rev. Steven Balke noticed the damage and the package’s remains, according to Dallas News. The school began notifying parents around 10:38 a.m. the school was on lockdown and later updated them with the news an “explosive device was found at St Stephen’s before school hours.” School officials directed parents to pick up their children early.
Police cordoned off an area around the church.
Authorities found and disarmed a similar device at a Starbucks in Beaumont on April 26. They have not confirmed a connection between the two devices or any possible motive behind the bombs.
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