May 7, 2007

Exploding Backpack In Las Vegas

UPDATE: Not a terrorist attack. See below.

State and federal authorities have swarmed over the Luxor Hotel after an explosion in its parking ramp this morning. A man carried a backpack into the second level of the parking garage and it exploded, killing the man carrying it and injuring another:

A backpack exploded in a parking garage attached to a Las Vegas hotel early Monday, killing a man who had picked it up and injuring another person, authorities said.

The man had removed the backpack from atop his car when it exploded shortly after 4 a.m. on the second floor of a parking behind the Luxor hotel-casino, said Officer Bill Cassell, a police spokesman.

The second person was taken to an area hospital.

Aerial video showed no apparent damage to the parking structure, where entrances were blocked while police, firefighters and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents investigated. No further information was immediately available.

Terrorists used exploding backpacks in the 7/7 London bombings, and of course, today is the seventh of May, so there could be some connection between the two. No news agency has posted any further details as of yet, but I will be keeping tabs on the news channels today to see if anything else develops.

I would say that this appears botched, and unlikely to have been part of a terrorist attack, unless we see other explosions. A backpack explosive is designed to kill people, not damage structures, and I suspect the man wanted to get it into the casino first before touching it off, if he was part of a terrorist network. If so, we will see more casino attacks in rapid succession. If not, this may be just a lunatic operating on his own.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin reports that the person who died worked at the hotel, and retrieved the backpack from a car, where it was left:

The explosion happened around 4 a.m. Reports were that the device was inside a backpack, which was on the vehicle. When the employee went to remove the object, the explosive went off. The employee was taken to the hospital where he died.

Officials say the victim appears to have been the intended target.

Someone apparently targeted the employee, leaving the backpack where the killer knew the employee would retrieve it. That's what the news reports in Las Vegas say at the moment. It seems like a strange way to kill one specific person, and I expect this to get more clarification or to change as the day rolls along.

Michelle also reminds us that al-Qaeda has scoped out the Luxor in the past, as well as Las Vegas in general. The 9/11 plotters made several trips to Vegas in the months before the attack, too.

UPDATE III: As I noted earlier, it was not likely a terrorist attack, despite one blogger who apparently couldn't read that far into the post. Terrorists would have wanted to blow the bomb up inside the casino, not in the parking garage. Unfortunately, one man still died in the attack.

I don't consider it irresponsible to discuss all of the different possibilities when news reports come through talking about backpack bombs. The early reports in that sense were apparently incorrect, but it's still pretty unusual to leave a bomb waiting in a parking garage in the hope that the victim will pick it up. It should be an interesting case to follow.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Comments (12)

Posted by Tom Shipley [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 7, 2007 10:41 AM

The story I read has this line:

"Metro police said they were treating the incident as a homicide with an unusual method."

Posted by The Lady Logician | May 7, 2007 10:46 AM

The news story that I heard said that the man killed was a Luxor employee who was leaving after his shift ended. He was supposedly found the backpack on the top of his car and when he went to remove it, it exploded.


Posted by TomB | May 7, 2007 10:52 AM

Quiet of the MSM is deafening... What a responsible and commendable approach! It has happen only like what, 8 hours ago? Apparently not enough time to get all the facts and check them twice, as MSM is well known to always do.
Or maybe GWB was right about Islamic threat? No, it can't be...

Posted by Geoff [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 7, 2007 11:45 AM

MSM just needs an angle before they pick it up. I have just the thing.

Isn't Las Vegas where ANNA NICOLE SMITH died?

There you go. Now it'll get picked up.

Posted by Tom Shipley [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 7, 2007 11:50 AM

Ah yes,

Instead of the "MSM" hearing about an exploding backpack and immediately posting a story with EXPLODING BACKPACK and IS THIS TERRORISM? They wait for more details to be released, see it looks to be an isolated homicide and report the story in an appropriate manner.

Normally, single homicides do not garner nation-wide news coverage. This story will because it's an unusual method which does bring to mind terrorism.

I think the MSM has handled it well. Certainly better than Cap'n who early on concluded it was either an act of "terrorism" or a lone nut trying to kill people in a casino.

Back in the olden days, news stories would happen on a certain day... say a Monday. Reporters would find out all the pertinent information they could on that day and get it to their editor for publication the following day... say a Tuesday.

Now that technology has allowed news to be disseminated instantly and there's a big appetite for that instant news, people expect a news to be reported almost instantly. Some people try to do that, but often they get facts wrong.

I remember after the London bombings when UK politce killed that South American fellow, the blogosphere was quoted stories and posts that said the guy "jumped a turnstyle WITH A BOMB."

Everyone just relax. The "MSM" did the right thing here. They got the story right before running with it.

And TomB, sorry if you had to wait an entire 8 hours. Not sure how you got through the morning.

Posted by Joselito | May 7, 2007 12:05 PM

Mr. Shipley, are you trying to make us all laugh, or do you really believe that the MSM would wait to get the story straight (like they did with the Bush story before the last presidential election) if there were
a way to spin it against the Bush administration? Wait! Don't answer that because if you are still in denial about the partisanship of papers like the New York Times, and TV networks such as ABC, NBC, et al, then there is no use discussing.

Posted by burt | May 7, 2007 12:06 PM

The victim did not die immediately.

He was holding the explosive.

Therefore, the explosive was very small.

Therefore, it is unlikely to have been intended to kill a large number of people.

It may not have been intended to kill anyone. It may have been intended to intimidate or to damage the business of the Luxor.

Posted by TomB | May 7, 2007 12:15 PM

Tom Shipley,
To be honest I don't know that myself. But it gives me so much confidence and feel of security and belonging to the larger collective, when somebody out there is keeping information from me, such that I'll always get it with the proper background, and only if it is sufficiently important and can't possibly be harmful...

Posted by Carol_Herman [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 7, 2007 12:24 PM

Later news; available at Drudge. Says it wasn't a backpack. And, the guy that died at 4:AM was "marked."

So it's better to guess, this time, the Saud's aren't doing "their thing." But someone was disgrunted with "somebody." And, the police work? Who knows. But at least there's enough curiosity seekers outside. That the chief may demand to know more about the victim. And, "how" the "item" got to lay on top of a car. Where the garages are covered with cameras.

It the Saud's money is now down to killing a single individual, they didn't get the bangs they usually get when they toss out $100,000 per car bomb.

The other thing to realize? While both the Iranians and the Saud's are DESTABLIZING FACTORS in our world, there "could be" hope for the Iranians. Since there are lots of unhappy Iranians, now. Less than thrilled with their women wearing tableclothsl. And, their universities disappearing. Or, actually: DISAPPEARED.

IF Iran were to be stabalized? That means Abner Dinnerjacket "goes to the cleaners," there could emerge a better form of government. Or at least not one so sick. If you think there are no odds for this, I can't help ya. But no one lives forever.

The the worse scourge remains the Saudis. Where, for some reason, separate from the terror machinery they've set up in each and every mosque; they went; in Dubai. To build a Disney type replica of Singapore. Could make it? But, then, maybe not?

I wouldn't invest in crap like that. Built in that heat. On a stagnant lagoon. But nobody asked me.

On the other hand, Iran is a real country. They've got memories, now of their Shah that are, on par, much better, in terms of how it grew a decent middle class; than anything out there, now.

As to Iraq? According to DEBKA, it splits 3 ways. Which isn't the greatest of outcomes. But that's how the Kurd's bet it. They'll "join" with one arab group. Not two. And, one arab group loses. Don't be too fast dropping your money, here. Because? The Shi'ts can lose!

Of course, Turkey, to the side is a player! They fear, and hamper the Kurds. So all is not well in that part of the world. And, all our efforts in Iraq? Just allows oil wealth to flow. (That's what the Saud's wanted to control. Among their other endeavors.)

Be nice, if in 100 years, people ask about the Saud's. And, the response is "The Saud's who?"

Crazy betting going on in the casino. Where everyone who goes in to bet can lose. Sure, there are winners. But how many of them do you know that held onto their money? While the HOUSE does very well, no matter what happens to you. (That's "ideal" capitalism," too.) Not so hard to figure out.

Where are we now? Saddam was secular. The whole list of WMD's that were looked for? All were sold to him by the Reagan White House; back in Reagan's 2nd term. One of the things about Saddam that made Casey (of the CIA), plotz. And, sent the veep Bush to doing "deals in broad daylight" that were to appear under a cloak of invisibility; is that of the thousands of TOW missiles, and such, Saddam "got." He had no military idea on how to use! (That's when poison gas dropped on the Iraqi Kurdish population.)

It's not that there's anything to feel bad about when Saddam swung in the hallway. Only that we played with him. And, we were "looking" for things that should have been there; because they were supplied under American eyes. Miss-used. Because Saddam was a terrorist. Not a strategist.

Worth considering what kinds of outcomes you get in environments like that. (Where did I learn these facts? HOUSE OF BUSH / HOUSE OF SAUD. I drive with my eyebrows going up, now. How come, so far, this information sits out there, but on the sidelines?

Posted by Tom Shipley [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 7, 2007 12:32 PM

"Wait! Don't answer that because if you are still in denial about the partisanship of papers like the New York Times, and TV networks such as ABC, NBC, et al, then there is no use discussing."

Ah, so if I don't agree with you, you don't want to have a discussion with me. Very telling.

Posted by James I. Hymas | May 7, 2007 12:36 PM

I don't understand this fixation on terrorism.

The first possible culprit I thought of was the Mob.

Posted by SwabJockey05 [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 7, 2007 4:40 PM

Hymas, Me too.

Ship, When Jim Lovell (NOT Tom Hanks)..., came to a Navy gathering there were several "scholars" who tried to "discuss" the fact that the moon landing was faked...I didn't waste time with matter how hard the glassy-eyed one pulled on my sleeve.

Was that "very telling" also?