UPDATE 2:30 p.m.:
The Granger home of Democratic U.S. House hopeful Brendon Mullen, site of the detonation of some sort of explosive device, was probably picked at random, authorities say.
Lt. Matt Blank of the St. Joseph County Police Department said two more explosive devices were found outside homes in the Granger area today, Sept. 25. They had already thought Mullen’s home was probably targeted at random and the discovery of the other devices reinforces that, he said.
The devices, “bottle bombs,” were actually plastic bottles filled with chemicals that, when combined, create gas. The gas builds and, inside a sealed bottle, can lead to an explosion when the pressure gets strong enough.
“It is likely that it is kids, but it’s not something we’re going to just laugh off,” said Blank. St. Joseph County authorities continue to investigate and they’ve contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms about possible federal violations.
The three devices were placed at or around mailboxes at the three homes. Such bombs typically aren’t strong enough to kill, but they can cause “pretty serious injury,” Blank said.
Authorities report that a black car with a red bumper sticker was seen in the vicinity of one of the targeted homes.
One of the two bombs found today “self-destructed,” said Blank, while the other was found intact. Neither caused any injuries.
GRANGER — The detonation of some sort of explosive device outside the Granger home of U.S. House hopeful Brendan Mullen has put his campaign on guard, at least momentarily.
“It’s certainly a cause for concern,” Andy Reynolds, Mullen’s campaign manager, said this morning, Sept. 25.
Many details, though, remain unanswered, notably who put it there and why.
“With the intensity of the race and politics in general, I would hope that this is not a political statement, certainly, and it was just misguided teenagers doing something,” said Reynolds. “But I just don’t know.”
The device exploded around 4:45 or 5 p.m. Monday near the mailbox outside Mullen’s home in Granger’s Knollwood subdivision. Mullen, who lives there with his wife and two young daughters, was inside the home with one of the campaign’s finance officials at the time and no one was injured. Before the detonation, the Democrat had seen someone get out of a car that had stopped outside the home and put something in the mailbox, Reynolds said.
The explosion wasn’t that strong, apparently, as it didn’t cause extensive damage to the mailbox. “It was a loud noise and a lot of smoke,” Reynolds said.
St. Joseph County police officials, called to the scene, weren’t immediately available for comment.
Joe Ruiz, the Libertarian hopeful for the 2nd District U.S. House seat, issued a statement Monday night. “In moments like this you have to strip away the politics of it all and keep in mind that we’re just people — fathers who love their families and want nothing more than to keep them safe. I can only hope that this is an isolated incident,” he said.
Jackie Walorski is the Republican in the race.