National News

Oklahoma man arrested in pipe-bomb attack on Massachusetts Satanic Temple

todayApril 18, 2024

Background

Via U.S. Department of Justice

(NEW YORK) — An Oklahoma man has been arrested on charges of allegedly throwing a pipe bomb at The Satanic Temple in Salem, Massachusetts, according to federal prosecutors.

The suspect, 49-year-old Sean Patrick Palmer of Perkins, Oklahoma, was arrested Wednesday morning in Oklahoma, authorities said.

The attack, captured on a security surveillance camera outside of the temple, occurred at 4:14 a.m. on April 8, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts said in a statement.

The security camera recorded a man walking toward The Satanic Temple (TST) wearing black pants, a black jacket, a black face covering, and a tan-colored tactical vest and gloves.

“He ignited a pipe bomb – a type of improvised explosive device or IED – threw it at TST’s main entrance, and then ran away. Seconds later, the pipe bomb partially detonated causing minor fire and related damage to TST’s exterior,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office statement, citing the charging document filed against Palmer.

The pipe bomb, according to the charging document, appeared to have been constructed from a section of plastic pipe covered with metal nails taped to the casing. The pipe was filled with a powder-like substance, preliminarily identified as smokeless gunpowder, according to the document.

No injuries were reported.

“A single human hair was allegedly located on the pipe bomb containing a DNA profile from a Caucasian male,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Investigators also found a note left in a flower bed at the scene claiming the temple was bombed on orders from God, according the federal prosecutors.

“A photograph of Palmer, who is a Caucasian male, posted to a social media website shows him wearing a tan-colored tactical vest like the vest worn by the suspect in the TST surveillance video,” federal prosecutors said. “Palmer also allegedly comments frequently on a social media website about religious matters and themes similar to those contained in the handwritten note found outside of TST on April 8, 2024.”

Palmer was identified as the suspect through surveillance footage that captured a black Volvo sedan, allegedly registered to him, driving erratically near the temple before and after the attack, federal prosecutors said.

Investigators, according to the charging document, allege that on April 3, Palmer purchased PVC pipe and matching caps, like the materials used in the pipe bomb thrown at the temple, at an Oklahoma home improvement store.

Palmer was charged with using fire or an explosive to cause damage to a building used in interstate or foreign commerce, and made his first court appearance in Oklahoma on Wednesday, prosecutors said. He is expected to be brought back to Massachusetts to face prosecution, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

If convicted, Palmer faces a sentence of from five to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000, according to prosecutors.

“There’s just no justification for doing this kind of thing. There’s no justification for even attempting,” Lucien Greaves, co-founder of The Satanic Temple, told ABC affiliate station WCVB in Boston. “Clearly, the intention was to do the maximum amount of damage and there was a complete disregard for human life.”

It was unclear Thursday whether Palmer has an attorney.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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