The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office remains puzzled over who set off pipe bombs in an Iron Station neighborhood Monday morning and whether the incident was fueled by racism.
Detectives said multiple pipe bombs exploded just before 1 a.m. in the 5900 block of Dalmatian Street, located off N.C. 73.
The Communications Center received a call about an explosion and issued a LincAlert message that warned area residents about the incident, the Sheriff’s Office said.
While officers later scouted the area, the neighborhood remained closed to traffic for half the day on Monday. Only residents of the neighborhood were allowed to access the street.
The Sheriff’s Office said one of the bomb’s explosions burned parts of a residential property’s front lawn.
Officers with the Gaston County Police Department Bomb Squad assisted local deputies at the scene and detonated another pipe bomb that had yet to explode, investigators said.
Officers would not disclose exactly how many pipe bombs were located at the scene, since the investigation is ongoing.
At least one of the homemade weapons consisted of a foot-long piece of PVC pipe attached to a propane container, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Officials with the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms responded to the site around 4 a.m. to also assist the investigation.
No injuries related to the explosions were reported.
Sheriff’s Office investigators are also suspicious of several racist markings they found in the neighborhood and are working to determine if they are connected to the explosions, since an African-American family resides at the Dalmatian Street property where bomb damage occurred, said Lt. Tim Johnson, head of the Major Crimes Unit.
While deputies know who painted the markings, located on the pavement of the cul-de-sac on Great Dane Street, less than a mile from where bomb remnants were found, they have yet to determine who constructed and set off the explosives, Johnson said.
No arrests have been made at this time.
Johnson said the markings included “KKK” and other hate messages targeting African-Americans — even a picture of a man hanging.
Investigators conducted a number of interviews in the case Monday night, but no new information in the pipe bomb case has been determined at this time, Sheriff’s Office officials said.
“We have not been able to connect the dots with the bombs yet,” Johnson said.