- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 13, 2002

A man was seriously injured yesterday when a pipe bomb detonated in the sport utility vehicle he was starting in a Northwest parking garage, officials said.
D.C. police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said the 2 p.m. bombing was deliberate, but officials would not release any information about the victim, other than saying he still was in surgery.
"The victim was using someone else's car," said Sgt. Joe C. Gentile, a D.C. police spokesman, outside the garage at 5225 Wisconsin Ave., where the explosion occurred. "We don't know if he's going to live or die."
He said the man, identified only as 21 years old, suffered burns and shrapnel wounds. Surgery was being done at the Washington Hospital Center and officers were stationed at the hospital.
"He was laying on his stomach and he was bleeding," said witness Orlando Olmo, who described the man as being burned from the waist down when they found him at the bottom of the garage ramp. Smoke could be seen billowing from the garage.
Officials from the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the city fire department also are part of the investigation.
"It was a typical pipe bomb," said Harold Scott, an ATF spokesman.
He said officials were sweeping the garage for remains of the bomb, which he said might lead to a suspect.
Sgt. Gentile said investigators know who is the registered owner of the Chevrolet Blazer, but he would not release that information.
He said there was no indication that the attack was terrorism.
Chief Ramsey said the victim was visiting someone in the area and arranged to borrow that person's car.
"He just may have been a person who happened to take the wrong car at the wrong time," Chief Ramsey said.
He said other pieces of evidence recovered "make it appear to be more of a personal type of thing."
The explosion forced the evacuation of a two-square-block area, the closure of several restaurants the closure of Wisconsin Avenue to traffic between Ingomar Street and Western Avenue from 2:30 to 4:15 p.m.
Mary Janvier, a D.C. resident who works at the Elizabeth Arden shop above the parking garage, said the building's alarm went off and her boss told everyone to leave.
Mrs. Janvier put her purse in a locker, and was anticipating difficulty getting home because she could not retrieve personal items until after employees were allowed back in the building.
"I saw a lot of smoke outside coming from downstairs," Mrs. Janvier said.
Investigators also had to wait for water to drain from the garage. The water had accumulated from the sprinklers that were activated by the explosion.
Investigators also were focusing on a second vehicle that might have been involved. It was parked around the corner, and as a safety precaution officers asked neighborhood residents to evacuate the premises.
This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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