Bomb Scares Leave Scars at Florida A&M University: Two Explosions, Deemed Hate-Related, Have Rocked This Historically Black Campus and Spurred Debates over Greater Security Measures

By Yeager, Melanie; D, Cheryl | Black Issues in Higher Education, October 14, 1999 | Go to article overview

Bomb Scares Leave Scars at Florida A&M University: Two Explosions, Deemed Hate-Related, Have Rocked This Historically Black Campus and Spurred Debates over Greater Security Measures


Yeager, Melanie, D, Cheryl, Black Issues in Higher Education


Bomb Scares Leave Scars at Florida A&M University: Two Explosions, Deemed Hate-Related, Have Rocked This Historically Black Campus and Spurred Debates Over Greater Security Measures

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Authorities charged an unemployed 41-year-old White man earlier this month with planting two small bombs on the Florida A&M University campus, casting a pall of fear and igniting a debate over security.

The two bombs rocked the campus detonated within a few weeks of each other in what authorities characterized as acts of racial hatred because they were accompanied by telephone calls laced with expletives about African Americans.

Lawrence M. Lombardi, an unemployed, married father of two, was arrested and being held without bail here on two counts of making bombs. Prosecutors say the charges carry a maximum 20-year prison sentence.

Under Florida law, that could be upped to life if the crimes are found to motivated by hatred of African Americans. Lombardi's attorney, R. Tim Jansen, says authorities have the wrong man. "He's absolutely innocent," Jansen says.

But authorities were confident they had their man. Florida A&M "does not face the threat that it did yesterday," U.S. Attorney Michael Patterson said shortly after Lombardi's arrest was announced.

The former vending company employee had easy access to campus: it was on his route and he had been issued a university identification card, authorities say. He serviced machines in the two buildings where bombs were detonated, they say.

A former coworker told investigators that Lombardi did not surrender the ID card when he left the company in July. Another told investigators that Lombardi had talked about finding bomb-making instructions on the Internet.

In all, three former co-workers identified Lombardi from a store surveillance tape and recognized his voice on a recording of the threatening phone calls that were made to a local television station here after each of the bombings.

FBI officials say that they matched bomb fragments with an uncommon type of heavy-duty PVC pipe that Lombardi bought at a home improvement store the day before the first explosion at the historically Black campus.

"The vending company employee described Lombardi as having no personality and as an individual who did not like Blacks and has used the `N' word," FBI investigators wrote in an affidavit filed in connection with the case.

In the wake of the bombings, college officials moved quickly to heighten security in hopes of allaying student and faculty fears here at Florida's only predominately Black public university: setting up checkpoints, installing security cameras and adding dozens more patrol officers.

But even those measures brought backlash on the nerve-frayed campus where some students have demanded tighter security, others cautioned against it and everyone was being asked to present their identification cards in order to gain entry.

"We have to be careful what we ask for," says Kristen Tucker, a graduate student and former student body president. "Blacks and police have never really gotten along very well. I don't want people with a surveillance camera on me all the time."

"I'm not here to come to school in a state of fear," a shaken and teary-eyed Zelna Heriscar, a freshman student from south Florida, said shortly after the second bomb exploded. "Why would someone want to hurt us?"

That's what a team of federal, state and local law enforcement officials assembled to patrol the campus and investigate the bombings had hoped to uncover 3/4 and quickly. They said that $60,000 amassed as a reward may help.

In both blasts, an unidentified man called the local ABC television affiliate here to claim credit for the bombings. Each time, station officials say, he laced his comments with profanity and racial slurs.

The first bomb exploded early afternoon on Aug. 31, the second day of classes. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Bomb Scares Leave Scars at Florida A&M University: Two Explosions, Deemed Hate-Related, Have Rocked This Historically Black Campus and Spurred Debates over Greater Security Measures
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.