Motive Sought in Blast Investigators Say Cambria County Bomb May Have Been Set off in Retaliation

By Ove, Torsten | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), March 21, 2013 | Go to article overview

Motive Sought in Blast Investigators Say Cambria County Bomb May Have Been Set off in Retaliation


Ove, Torsten, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


Free on bond, Brad Kollar was supposed to appear in a Cambria County courtroom Tuesday morning to be sentenced for running a chop shop and storing chemicals for an underground meth lab on his rural property.

Instead, state police said, he drove his pickup to a Clearfield Township house a few miles away and detonated a massive homemade bomb, blowing himself to pieces, leveling the home and critically injuring its owner, William Shaner, and one of his teenage sons.

State police and federal agents from Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., were still digging through the debris Wednesday and said they expected to be at the scene for a week, gathering evidence and reconstructing the crime.

But they confirmed that Mr. Kollar, 40, set off the blast in an "intentional act" at the Kepshire Road home where Mr. Shaner lived with his wife and three sons.

Pulled from the rubble, Mr. Shaner was flown to Allegheny General Hospital, where he was being treated Wednesday in the intensive care unit. His son was being treated at Altoona Hospital.

Neither has life-threatening injuries, police said.

Troopers would not discuss a possible motive, but the explosion came just minutes before 9 a.m., when Mr. Kollar was due to be sentenced at the Cambria County Courthouse in nearby Ebensberg on charges related to operating a chop shop with his father, John Kollar, 64, and possession of liquid ammonia in connection with operating a meth lab.

Police and the district attorney, Kelly Callihan, would not address speculation in the community that the bombing was an attempt to retaliate against Mr. Shaner for providing evidence against Mr. Kollar, whose family property in and near the village of Hastings state troopers raided a year ago.

"At this time, we cannot confirm any specific motive or possible retaliation," state Trooper John Matchik said, although he and Ms. Callihan acknowledged that revenge is one possibility. He said the blast is being treated as an "attempted criminal homicide. …

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