'Heinous attempted acts': FBI increases reward for information on January 2021 DC pipe bomb suspect
The January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol Building was such a shock to the United States — and to many other countries as well — that it overshadowed another act of political extremism that occurred in Washington, D.C. that month: the pipe bombs that were placed near the headquarters of both the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Republican National Committee (RNC) only a day earlier. Two years later, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is still investigating those pipe bombs. And in an official statement on January 4, 2023, the FBI announced that the amount of the reward offered for information on the pipe bomber had been increased.
According to the announcement, “The FBI Washington Field Office; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Washington Field Division; and the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) have raised the reward to $500,000 for information leading to the arrest of a suspect who placed pipe bombs near the headquarters of the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee in Washington, D.C., in January 2021.”
The FBI has images of the pipe bomb suspect from January 5, 2021, the day the pipe bombs outside DNC and RNC headquarters were found. But investigators still don’t know who the person is or what their specific motives are. The fact that the suspect went after both the DNC and the RNC may offer some clues, as the far-right extremists who were in Washington, D.C. that week often detest libertarians and traditional conservatives as much as they detest liberals and progressives.
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The FBI’s announcement quotes David Sundberg, assistant director in charge of the FBI Washington Field Office, as saying, “For two years, a dedicated team of FBI agents, analysts, and law enforcement partners have been tirelessly reviewing evidence and digital media related to this case…. We remain grateful to the American people, who have provided invaluable tips that have helped us advance the investigation. With the significantly increased reward, we urge those who may have previously hesitated to contact us — or who may not have realized they had important information — to review the information on our website and come forward with anything relevant.”
Sundberg added, “Despite the unprecedented volume of data review involved in this case, the FBI and our partners continue to work relentlessly to bring the perpetrator of these dangerous attempted attacks to justice.”
Christopher Amon, an acting special agent for ATF’s Washington Field Division, is quoted in the FBI’s announcement as well.
“We are proud to stand alongside our partners as we increase our reward contribution to help identify the person or persons responsible for placing these pipe bombs and threatening our community,” Amon declared in the announcement. “The ATF’s determination and commitment to this investigation will not waver. Public safety is of the utmost priority in this ongoing investigation, and we remain dedicated to making sure those responsible are brought to justice.”
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D.C. Police Chief Robert J. Contee III is quoted in the announcement as well, saying, “MPD continues to work alongside our federal partners to locate the individual or individuals behind these heinous attempted acts. We know our most powerful tool is information from our community. With your help and our federal partnerships, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department will remain focused on bringing this matter to closure —for the safety of our entire community.”
Unlike the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol Building, the pipe bombs found near DNC and RNC headquarters a day earlier did not result in any injuries. But the FBI, in its announcement, pointed out that they easily could have.
“Although these bombs did not detonate,” the FBI noted, “it is important to remember the suspect walked along residential and commercial areas in Capitol Hill just blocks from the U.S. Capitol with viable pipe bombs that could have seriously injured or killed innocent bystanders. Moreover, the suspect may still pose a danger to the public or themselves.”
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