‘Improvised Explosion’ Hits New Mexico Strip Mall, Kills 1

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
February 5, 2019 Updated: February 5, 2019

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—An “improvised explosion” detonated in an alley behind a strip mall in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Monday, Feb. 4, and killed a man authorities believe was responsible for the device, police said.

Albuquerque Police Chief Michael Geier said at a news conference the blast didn’t appear to be linked to any terrorist act but the FBI is investigating. The name of the man killed has not been released and police don’t know if he was connected to the shopping center and have yet to determine a motive.

“There is no perceived threat to anybody else,” Geier said in a news conference from the scene. “There is no connection to any terrorist act or any activity that we would need to protect the public from.”

Officer SImon Drobik
Officer Simon Drobik answers questions about an explosion that he says killed one person in Albuquerque, N.M., on Feb. 4, 2019. (Mary Hudetz/AP)

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives also was at the scene.

Geier said no other suspects were under investigation.

He said no direct residents were near the blast but it had a radius of about 246 feet and could be heard around 2 miles away.

Businesses in the west side mall were evacuated after the explosion early afternoon explosion.

“Our initial concern was this was a gas leak or natural causes, but that was ruled out pretty quickly,” Geier said.

He said the explosion destroyed a cement wall and dented a Dumpster behind the shopping center.

No other injuries were reported.

Police officers blocked off the mall, which includes a grocery store, pharmacy, and other businesses.

Juan Pablo, a worker at one of the businesses, said the explosion rocked the building.

“I was in the backroom getting a phone for a customer right when I heard everything go off,” Pablo told KOB-TV. “It shook the windows.”

Firefighters happened to be at the location when they heard a loud noise and investigated.

The blast was being investigated by the Albuquerque Police Department bomb squad and agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.