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Guard questioned in Olympic bombing

By
JEFF SHAIN

ATLANTA, July 30 -- A security guard who claimed to have found the bomb that later exploded early Saturday morning at Centennial Olympic Park is a suspect in the bombing, federal officials said Tuesday. Richard Jewell, 33, praised in the media as a hero for aiding victims after the blast that left two dead and over 100 injured, was questioned by federal investigators Tuesday evening. Jewell has not been charged, and federal officials stress that while Jewell is a suspect, he underwent questioning voluntarily and the probe has not been narrowed to him alone. 'It wouldbe a stretch at this point, to say that Jewell is the prime suspect in the investigation,' an official in Washington close to the probe told United Press International. Alice S. Hawthorne, 44, of Albany, Ga., was killed as a result of the blast while Turkish television cameraman Melih Uzunyol, 40, died from a heart attack he suffered while running to film the aftermath of the explosion. Both deaths are being considered by officials as homicides. Hundreds of people were at the park enjoying a night of entertainment when the pipe bomb exploded at 1:25 a.m. Saturday morning. A special edition of Tuesday's Atlanta Journal reported that Jewell fits the profile of a lone bomber: 'a frustrated white man who is a former police officer, member of the military or police 'wannabe' who seeks to become a hero.' After meeting with two FBI agents at his home in Atlanta, Jewell told reporters he was not involved in the bombing.

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'I'm sure they're investigating everyone that was in the area,' he said, adding he had no idea why he might be under investigation. The Journal reported that FBI agents are reviewing both professional and amateur videotape to see if Jewell can be seen placing the green backpack that contained the pipe bomb near the sound stage prior to the blast. After the explosion, he told members of the media that he spotted a knapsack near the tower that was damaged in the blast and reported the find to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent and helped move people from the area. The Journal reports that investigators are checking to see if his voice matches that of a 911 caller who phoned in a warning of the bomb to Atlanta police from a phone near the park. Agents also are reportedly checking an earlier report from a plumber that pipes were stolen from his construction area near the park. A.D. Frazier, chief executive officer for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, said he could not offer any details about whether the individual was a prime suspect. Jewell did not work directly for ACOG. Anthony Davis, the head of Anthony Davis Associates, said his firm absorbed Jewell when it took over providing security at the AT&T Global Center after it ended its contract with Borg Warner. Davis said Borg Warner was responsible for all background checks of security employees and said he knew of no problems with Jewell. 'I had no problems with him. He had favorable reports from his co- workers on site,' said Davis. According to the Journal, Jewell resigned two former law-enforcement jobs in north Georgia, the latest at Piedmont College on May 21. He also was a deputy sheriff at the Habersham County Sheriff's Department, where he received bomb training.

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(XXX received bomb training). After the bombing, Jewell was hailed as a hero and gave several media interviews. On NBC's 'Today' program Tuesday, host Katie Couric asked Jewell whether he considered himself a hero. 'No ma'am, I feel like I'm a person who did the job I was supposed to do,' he said. He went on to praise the paramedics and firefighters who responded to the bombing and the GBI agents who were wounded by shrapnel in the blast. If involved, Jewell would not the first staffer on the fringes of the Olympics associated with a bomb incident. At the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, a bus driver who reported finding a bomb on a bus later admitted he staged the incident to make himself look like a hero. No one was injured in that case. In other developments Tuesday, Centennial Olympic Park was rededicated with a call to return to the Olympic ideal of peace and brotherhood. With flowers marking the place where Anita Hawthorne was killed by shrapnel, former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young asked that people help return the park to the festive atmosphere of celebration it embodied before the blast. 'We can solve the problems of the planet together. It is up to us to show that we have no need for hatred and violence,' Young told thousands of visitors gathered in the park and millions more via a worldwide television feed. The crowd included more than a dozen of Hawthorne's friends and family, Coretta Scott King, wife of slain civil-rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., and former Olympic gold medalists Edwin Moses and Janet Evans.

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