Criminal Justice

Georgia Law Firm Explodes in Suicide Attack, DA Blames Lawsuit

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An explosion at a personal injury law firm in downtown Dalton, Ga., this morning injured four people, including at least one lawyer, and resulted in the death of the apparent bomber in what a federal law enforcement spokesman describes as a suicide attack.

“A body has been found behind the law firm where an explosion took place this morning and a police officer saw a man run behind the building just before the explosion,” reports the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Bruce Frazier, a spokesman for the Dalton Police Department, says that someone at the law firm made a 911 call about a disturbance just before the attack.

District Attorney Kermit McManus blamed a bitter lawsuit for the explosion at McCamy Phillips Tuggle & Fordham, saying that he considers it “an assault on the judicial system.” He named Lloyd Cantrell as a suspect in the bombing, but didn’t give any details about who Cantrell is, according to the Daily Citizen.

However, in a subsequent Daily Citizen article, a spokesman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) says Cantrell was responsible for the bombing and died in the blast. The most seriously injured victim apparently was attorney Jim Phillips, 79, who is reportedly being flown to a burn facility in Augusta. The other three injured victims haven’t been named, but two have been treated and released.

“Witnesses said the blast at about 10 a.m. Friday blew out the windows at the McCamy Law Firm. They said at least one person had his clothes burned off and was taken to the hospital,” reports the Associated Press in an article published shortly after the explosion.

The Chattanooga newspaper says the blast occurred closer to 9:15 a.m. than 10 a.m.

The ATF is assisting local authorities with their investigation.

The explosion in Dalton is the second of two apparent bomb blasts affecting attorneys within the past 24 hours in a several-state region. Yesterday morning, at about 11:15 a.m., an explosion in a parking garage in a St. Louis suburb injured a corporate lawyer as he was getting into his car. It also is being investigated by ATF, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Additional coverage: “St. Louis Lawyer Injured By Parking Lot Package Bomb”

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