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Police & Fire

Officials cite progress on bombing of lawyer's car

'Persons of interest' under investigation


Special Agent Donald Dawkins with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said a pool of suspects is being narrowed down.

The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
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MONROE -- Although no arrests have been made in the nearly three-week old car bombing that injured a Sylvania lawyer and his two sons, authorities said Friday they are investigating several "persons of interest."

Authorities also officially confirmed that the device that went off that day -- causing a horrific explosion that injured Erik Chappell, 42, and sons Grant, 13, and Cole, 11 --was indeed a type of bomb.

Special Agent Donald Dawkins of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms said at a news conference in Monroe, outside the Monroe Police Department, that investigators are trying to narrow the pool of possible suspects.

"There is information we need that we don't have yet," Mr. Daw- kins said.

Since the last time the agency addressed the media, shortly after the incident, investigators have received results from the evidence collected after Mr. Chappell's Volvo station wagon exploded on East Elm Avenue near I-75 in Monroe on Sept. 20.

The family, who lives in LaSalle Township, was on its way to football practice when the bomb exploded.

The evidence, which was sent to ATF headquarters in Washington, has provided investigators with new information, although Mr. Dawkins declined to say what type of bomb was used, how it was detonated, and where in or on the car the device was placed by the person -- or people -- who did it.

The agent said the investigators are "confident on what the device was," and what activated it, he said.

He would not comment on a potential motive for the attack.

Although Mr. Chappell and his sons were not killed by the blast, Mr. Dawkins said, "make no mistake, … it could have" killed them.

Whoever made the bomb, Mr. Dawkins said, "knew what they were doing," although it's unknown if the perpetrator has institutional knowledge of explosives or read a book on making bombs.

Part of the reason there is a large person-of-interest pool, is because authorities are not ruling out anyone, even Mr. Chappell's client base. "Anything that's possible to look at, we've looked at," Mr. Dawkins said.

He said there could be new information to release sometime within the next week.

Mr. Dawkins said that Mr. Chappell's sons, who were more severely injured than their father, are "both doing a lot better" and are "getting around, which is very encouraging."

Most of the technical work in the investigation is done, Mr. Dawkins said; now it's up to footwork and continuing to interview people.

The agency is asking that the public remain willing to help by phoning in tips on the case. The agency has received several hundred phone calls so far, but it would like more, Mr. Dawkins said.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call 313-202-3400.

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