New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez (R) is heading to the city of Las Cruces, where a peaceful Sunday was interrupted by two bomb explosions at area churches. Law enforcement agencies and local police are investigating the explosions. Bomb squads were deployed to the two churches.
It was at approximately 8:20 a.m. that the first explosion was heard on August 2. Las Cruces police officers were called to Calvary Baptist Church shortly thereafter. An explosive device had damaged a mailbox located on a wall near the administrative entrance to the church. Several members of the congregation were inside the worship space but services had not yet begun at the time of the detonation. No injuries were reported.
Approximately 30 minutes later, police were called to Holy Cross Catholic Church, where an explosive device detonated inside a trash can near the front entrance of the parish. At that time, Mass was being celebrated. Rev. Monsignor John Anderson and parishioners were evacuated through a separate exit. No injuries were reported. The device damaged the trash receptacle and the glass entryway to the church.
Both churches are now closed while law officers seek evidence and begin their investigation. Currently, an investigation has been undertaken by Las Cruces Police Department; Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office; New Mexico State Police; New Mexico State University Police; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tabaco, Firearms and Explosives; the Federal Bureau of Investigations; and the Department of Homeland Security. They are trying to determine whether the two explosions were related. The two churches involved are just four miles apart.
Churchgoers were frightened by the explosions at Holy Cross, which took place during the consecration of the Holy Eucharist. It was during the distribution of Communion that police arrived at the church and instructed the congregation to leave calmly.
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