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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

September 20, 2013

Contact: Special Agent Donald Dawkins, PIO, ATF
Cell : (313) 407-6018

ATF Provides Update on Anniversary of the Monroe Car Bombing Investigation

DETROIT – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Detroit Field Division today announced additional information in the Sept. 20, 2011, car bombing that resulted in serious injuries to Ohio Attorney Erik Chappell and his two minor sons. The explosion occurred near the 1600 block of East Elm Avenue in Monroe, Mich., where Chappell and his sons were traveling to a scheduled football practice.

ATF Explosives Enforcement Officer (EEO) Michael Eggleston released information regarding the improvised explosive device (IED ) used in the bombing. Eggleston indicated that the explosive device planted on Chappell’s vehicle was unique and was intended to cause serious bodily injury if not death. “What makes this device unique is that it’s a remote controlled device designed by the bomber to attack in the line of sight allowing ultimate control over both the device and the victim,” said Eggleston.

An IED is essentially a homemade bomb that is not commercially manufactured, but it may have commercial components included. Some of the commercial components believed to be used in the construction of the IED were from toy cars according to ATF forensic chemists at ATF’s National Laboratory.

Some of the components used may have come from toy vehicles manufactured and sold under the brand names of Electrix RC, The Ruckus Monster Truck (Orange), Ruckus Monster Truck (Green), Circuit Stadium Truck (Red), Circuit Stadium Truck (Gray) Boost Buggy (Orange) and the Boost Buggy (Blue) model.

According to victim Erik Chappell, his sons are doing as well as can be expected. “Physically they are doing well, but it is weighing on their minds. They do ask about the incident and wonder when the individuals responsible will be brought to justice,” said Chappell.

Chappell continued by asking for the public’s help in identifying the individual(s) responsible for this crime and thanking ATF and the Monroe Police Department for their continued hard work and persistence in this investigation.

ATF Detroit Field Division Acting Special Agent in Charge Daryl McCrary said, “The bomber, the individual responsible for this destructive act against Mr. Chappell and his sons, displayed the skill and knowledge to construct this device and did not hesitate in detonating the device in spite of the presence of Mr. Chappell’s children. This investigation remains a high priority for ATF,” said McCrary. “We must bring this individual or individuals to justice; we need the public’s assistance.”

According to an ATF profiler the suspect(s) held such a grievance toward the victim, Chappell, that he or she was willing to kill him and innocent children to exact revenge. The use of command detonation along with the shrapnel to increase the lethality of the device supports this theory.

Individuals who use explosives to engage in such target-specific extreme violence often exhibit the following personality traits:

  • Individuals who seek excessive revenge for perceived grievances use the motto, “I don’t get mad, I get even.”
  • Individuals possess an anger that is noted by others around them; in fact, friends and family members may have suffered verbal, physical and emotional abuse by them due to their tempers.
  • This anger may color his or her thinking; blaming others for perceived mistakes and shortcomings in his or her own life. He or she may not take appropriate responsibility for his or her actions.
  • Individuals are self-centered – it’s all about them. They may display a degree of callousness or lack of concern for the rights of others.
  • These subjects may engage in other criminal behavior, such as: frauds, schemes, property crimes, and assaults.
  • These individuals typically have problems in their lives, particularly with their relationships and employment.
  • The individual(s) would have had to have a private workspace to store, assemble and construct the device. These skills would have been developed through employment or hobbies, according to ATF profilers.

    There may be more than one subject involved in this crime — that the perpetrator of the scheme enlisted the help of another to carry it out. This factor will increase the likelihood that others may possess knowledge of this crime without realizing its significance.

    “You or someone you know may possess knowledge of this crime. You may recognize the personality traits or behaviors as belonging to someone you know. If youhave direct knowledge of this case and fear for your safety, we can protect you. This crime may have taken a far more dangerous turn than someone with inside knowledge expected. No one, especially innocent children, should be put in danger at the hands of this subject ever again,” said McCrary.

    ATF is asking that anyone with information that might be related to this matter call ATF at the ATF Hotline 1-888-ATF-BOMB (1-888-283-2662) or ATF ANN ARBOR at 1-734-887-0060.

    ATF reminds the public that there is a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual(s) responsible for this crime.

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