2015 San Diego bombings
|2015 San Diego bombing|
Aftermath of one of the three simultaneous attacks at the San Diego Fremont General Hospital
|Location||San Diego, Laguna, KS|
June 6, 2015 |
2:22-24 PM (PST)
Grand Liberty Tower|
Bank of Sierra Center
San Diego Cancer Walk Marathon (San Diego Fremont General Hospital)
|Bombings (3 total): IED attack (1 attack), car bombing (2 attacks), suicide (1 attack)|
|Weapons||Fertilizer bombs, pressure cooker bomb|
1 attacker (suicide)
|Motive||Retaliation against Bogota Agreement (suspected)|
The 2015 San Diego bombings, also referred to as the June 6 attacks, the 6/6 attacks, and Black Saturday, were three simultaneous, possibly related bombing incidents, that occurred when two trucks loaded with ammonium nitrate and other ingredients detonated in the parking garage underneath the Grand Liberty Tower, four cars loaded with pressure cooker bombs detonated in the parking lot of the San Diego Fremont General Hospital while the Cancer Walk Marathon was being held, and one truck loaded with ammonium nitrate crashed and then exploded in the lobby of the Bank of Sierra Center. Killing over 2,500 civilians and government officials, another estimated 2,500 were injured. Several dozen buildings surrounding the Grand Liberty Tower and Bank of Sierra Center were either destroyed or damaged. The single deadliest civilian attack in Sierran history since the La Paz Incident a year earlier, the attacks have allegedly been linked with the Mexican Social Republic which had recently undergone a coup led by ultranationalists against the Veracruzist government. These claims were made by the Sierran and Brazorian heads of government on June 7 following intelligence reports.
Within 150 minutes of the bombings, the tower collapsed, sending debris everywhere within a mile-and-a-half radius. The Bank of Sierra Center suffered a similar fate, with the entire building collapsing almost instantaneously and many nearby buildings were destroyed or severely damaged by the initial blast and the subsequent debris. At the San Diego Fremont General Hospital, over 50 vehicles were instantly destroyed or sent ablaze with the hospital complex itself unaffected.
Immediately following the attacks, the city of San Diego and surrounding cities in the province of Laguna was placed on lockdown while Prime Minister Steven Hong declared a state of national emergency. The Parliament, which was on recess, held a special session to convene and address the attacks the evening of the attacks. As of June 7, several federal investigative bodies including the Royal Intelligence Agency and the San Diego Police Department are investigating the attacks and searching for its perpetrators. The attacks have been declared acts of terrorism and preliminary evidence strongly suggests that the attacks were sponsored by the Mexican fascist government. 4 of the 11 known perpetrators/suspects have been detained as of June 7 with all of their names released.
An ongoing manhunt for the 7 remaining known attackers has brought together intelligence agencies from Sierra, Brazoria, Superior, the Northeast Union and the United Commonwealth together. The attacks were the primary casus belli for Sierra's and the CAS to launch Operation Biting Dust, a major counter-terrorist operation on the Mexican-Brazorian border, on June 12, 2015.
Three sites were bombed no more than thirty seconds between each other around 2:22 PM, suggesting that all three were coordinated and related. In all three cases, vehicles were the mediums used to carry out the bombings with the Grand Liberty Tower and Bank of Sierra Center being attacked with ammonium nitrate fertilizer bombs and the San Diego Fremont General Hospital with pressure cooker bombs.
Grand Liberty Tower
The first of the three explosions, initial reports suggest that two trucks loaded with ammonium nitrate fertilizer in nitromethane, and diesel fuel mixture, were parked in the building's underground parking lot within six hours of the attacks. Surveillance footage around the city showed two large delivery trucks heading towards the Grand Liberty Tower around noontime, implicating that the attacks occurred relatively soon following the parking.
The trucks, which detonated at 2:22 PM, instantly tore through two layers of concrete and destroyed the first twelve levels of the building which included the trolley line on the ground floor at India Avenue. The explosion caused a massive fire and immediately knocked the buildings and surrounding area's power-lines off, which inevitably led to the building's structural collapse two and a half hours later.
Among the first to respond to the Tower's bombing were the San Diego fire and police departments who were already overwhelmed with reports of the other two attacks in the city. The attack instantly killed an estimated 250 individuals within the Grand Liberty Tower complex and another 450 were injured. Some 130 more pedestrians or drivers were killed just outside the building on India Avenue and West Broadway. Adjacent buildings and complexes including the Emerald Plaza and First Allied Plaza were also severely damaged, with the latter suffering up to 70% complete damage. The explosion left a 15-feet deep crater on West Broadway, damaging multiple gas and water pipelines, starting a fire independent from the one already burning on the building proper. A little less than a mile away, the Bank of Sierra Center was also attacked, at around the same time, sending debris back to the site of Grand Liberty Tower, causing more damage.
Evacuation plans were complicated as the first twelve levels of the building were destroyed, making the upper twenty-two floors inaccessible by stairway. With the streets surrounding the building obstructed with debris, fire, and wreckage, firefighters had to send four helicopters at a time to bring survivors to safety. Eventually, before the tower collapsed, a helicopter arrived to the tower every other minute to rescue up to 8 individuals.
Following the collapse of the Grand Liberty Tower, firefighters and police evacuated civilians from the area a three mile from the tower and the nearby Bank of Sierra Center. The nearby Interprovincial 2 was closed and numerous detours were set up, taking the Plaza into account. The nearby museum and ship, the HRHS Rose of Sharon, which was less than half a mile away, was miraculously left unaffected by the blast, but was closed and it, alongside the San Diego Cruise Terminal were reopened and then converted into as a temporary relief center for victims. The ship was later closed again and was forced for the first time in 23 years, to sail to a safer location in the bay due to approaching fires.
By 5 PM, the fires that started from both the Grand Liberty Tower bombs and the Bank of Sierra Center were contained. An active search-and-rescue party continued all throughout the night in search for any survivors and bodies at the site.
Key federal officials including Prime Minister Steven Hong and King Smith II were made aware of the attacks within three minutes and later briefed half an hour after. City officials in San Diego including Mayor Stephanie Bailey were quickly evacuated from the City Council building which stood about half a mile between the Grand Liberty Tower and Bank of Sierra Center sites and relocated to a safer, undisclosed location.
San Diego Fremont General Hospital
Outside the San Diego Fremont General Hospital, four cars with pressure cooker bombs were parked in the lot of the hospital's west wing. The hospital, was hosting the city's 11th annual cancer awareness walk that day, with an attendance up to 3,000 participants and hundreds more spectators. The parking, which used a general admission system, allowed the four cars in within an hour of the bombing. At 2:23 PM, the cars were simultaneously detonated, setting off a chain reaction that resulted in up to 50 cars destroyed and a fire. The event itself, was held a block down from the parking lot but 22 people who were in the lot were killed immediately and 32 more were injured. Following the attacks, the walk was cancelled and volunteer workers were among the first to attend the wounded.
Bank of Sierra Center
The last of the three attacks, the Bank of Sierra Center was attacked when the driver of one truck loaded with ammonium nitrate fertilizer bombs rammed into the building's lobby. The initial crash destroyed the doors and severely damaged the front desk. At this time, the attack at Grand Liberty Tower had already been performed with debris hitting the center right before the bank itself was attacked. 10 seconds following the crash, the truck's explosives were ignited by a nearby assailant and promptly exploded with an estimated power equivalent to 4,000 pounds (2 tons) of TNT. The explosion destroyed up to 2/3 of the building immediately, with damage as high up to the 20th floor of the 27-storied building. Shortly thereafter, the building collapsed due to structural failure and cloud of debris blanketed the streets below. A fire smaller than the ones started near the Grand Liberty Tower began but was quickly contained.
The blasts severely damaged the infrastructure near the Center including the Symphony Towers and San Diego Civic Theater. The nearby San Diego City Council building received minor damages from flying debris on its east size.
Casualties and initial response
First responders arrived to the scenes of the attacks within 5 minutes. Of them include the San Diego Fire Department, San Diego Police Department, and paramedics. The Royal National Guard and Navy quickly arrived, evacuating civilians from and limiting access to the sites. The Bureau of Explosives, Radioactive Weapons, and Firearms (BERWF) was deployed to investigate and control the damage and fire caused by the attacks. Other agencies including the Sierran Red Cross, Royal Meteorology Service, Air Force, and Army arrived shortly after the attacks to treat victims and organize cleanup. Thousands were rushed to hospitals which were getting overwhelmed with the amount of patients requiring immediate attention. The Royal Crisis Management Agency (RCMA) deployed over 500 workers to the sites and immediately apportioned $800 million towards the relief effort.
Hundreds of patients died en route to or at hospitals, suggesting that the number of deaths attributed to the attacks be much higher than the current 2,500 estimate. Many patients were forced to be amputated and others undergoing intensive surgery. Bodies of the dead were identified and then sent to local morgues for temporary storage before being designated a new location. It was reported that the amount of bodies needed to transport and safeguard became so overwhelming, a special task force was created by the City of San Diego specifically to handle the bodies.
As a precautionary measure, Laguna Governor Tyson Morales requested the Royal Aviation Safety Administration to restrict airspace around San Diego and ground all flights in any airports in the San Diego-Tijuana metropolitan area. Police commissioner Ian Davis meanwhile urged citizens to stay away from the streets and avoid going downtown where the attacks occurred. Thousands of businesses were closed and various events to be held in San Diego were cancelled in response to the attacks.
The RCMA issued provincial-wide cell phone messages to users through already congested cellphone lines. Google Person Finder was activated allowing individuals to enter known information regarding potential victims and missing persons. With many hotels and lodging services closed, tourists were offered shelter in the same schools and centers provided for the attack victims.
The Royal Intelligence Agency (RIA) led the official investigation of the attacks, known as SDBOMB, with Chris Witherspoon acting as the chief investigator in charge. Witherspoon oversaw 1,200 federal, provincial, and local law enforcement personnel including 400 RBI agents, 350 officers from the San Diego Police Department, 200 members of the Laguna National Guard, and 250 agents from the Laguna Bureau of Investigation. The largest investigation force ever amassed in Sierran history, Parliament created the Joint Special Committee on the Investigation of the San Diego Bombings on June 7 to provide additional federal oversight.
At 2:33 AM, four individuals (Octavio Sarasota, 35; Adolfo Peña, 41; Oscar Hermida, 27; and Manny Lucero, 33) connected to the bombings were stopped by Tijuana Territorial Highway Patrol officials near Ensenada in the Sierran territory of Pacífico Norte, some 83 miles south of San Diego. Caught driving over the speeding limit and without headlights on, the stop immediately turned bloody when the individuals began firing at authorities and fleeing by foot. The men were quickly apprehended and interrogated at the local Ensenada Police Department. During the arrest, officials found an unused bag of ammonium nitrate in the men's van, incriminating papers and plans discussing the attacks, forged Sierran documents, and paperwork issued directly by the Mexican government.
At 4 AM, one of the men, Octavio Sarasota, admitted to being involved in the attack on the Grand Liberty Tower and confirmed that the two other attacks were all related. He also stated that he was a member of Mexico's intelligence agency, CISERN. Further interrogation of the other three revealed that the attacks were deliberately planned by the Mexican government for some months since the Bogota Agreement. The suspects stated that they were all sleeper agents who were assigned to Sierra since as early as 2006 with the task of engaging in terrorist attacks or assassinations whenever necessary. They also further disclosed that the assassination of American president Frank Solomon in December 2014 was funded by Mexico and that the mastermind, Trevor XI, Sierra's Most Wanted Criminal, currently resided in Mexico City with a government position. They however, refused to reveal how the finer details of the attack plans as well as the whereabouts of their colleagues.
When asked why the agents produced the answers relatively easily, the agents stated they were wished to die as "martyrs" and the first to die for Mexico's "Reconquista" of Sierra and Brazoria. Having no qualms being tried, it seemed to conflict with the agents' earlier attempt to escape pursuing authorities. Expressing no regret for the attacks, the agents were then transported to Los Angeles for further interrogation.
The Royal Intelligence Agency and local law enforcement received a warrant to search the homes of the four attackers in San Diego, Riverside, and San Juan Capistrano. They also announced the confirmed names of 8 additional suspects (based from paper evidence and telecommunication records), 2 more than originally believed, listed below:
- Sebastián Pascual, 31
- Conrado Darío, 34
- Bruno Bolívar, 25
- Emilio Graciano, 25
- Cecilia Ercilia, 29
- Maria Arcelia, 34
- Riley Steckloff, 45
- Ernesto Piedad, 41
The Ministry of Justice stated that the four attackers detained will face trial by July. All four have been indicted by a grand jury for terrorism, espionage, use of weapons of mass destruction, and malicious destruction of property resulting in death.
Following the attack, Governor Tyson Morales and his cabinet had evacuated the city alongside local government figures and many civilians from San Diego. San Diego was placed under martial law and most of the city was cut off from most of the general public and the Laguna Provincial Guard was mobilized and occupied the city along with other nearby cities, towns and counties and a manhunt was ordered to track down the perpetrators. Martial law was later extended to encompass the entire province and the provincial government had announced that martial law would remain in effect for at least thirty days, a motion that was supported by the federal government. The nearby province of Imperial had also organized their provincial guard to secure its border and launched patrols fearing potential follow up attacks fearing that more attacks would be carried out on provinces in the south bordering Mexico.
Prime Minister Steven Hong and King Smith II delivered a televised joint statement which addressed the attack four hours after at the Parliament's special emergency session. Stating that although the perpetrators were still unclear, the two vowed to bring justice and punishment to those responsible for the "most egregious, sickening, and harrowing event yet to face this nation". Calling the attacks an act of terrorism, Hong urged Parliament to authorize the Prime Ministry any tools and funding necessary to find the perpetrators as well as to support the city of San Diego and the victims and their families. Hong also issued a state of emergency which Parliament recognized and ordered the next 10 days to be days of national mourning.
News of the bombings immediately spread throughout the nation with thousands of citizens expressing their shock and grief with San Diego. Candlelight vigils, prayer sessions, and "mourning circles" sprung nationwide as civilians expressed solidarity. Social media exploded with the hashtag #StandBySanDiego the most mentioned on Twitter within 10 minutes of the attack. Sports and entertainment events originally planned that night in San Diego and other cities were cancelled, out of respect for the attacks. The Ministry of Defense upgraded the nation's defense and security readiness system, SNACON from a 3 to 2, indicating a very serious security issue to the country.
On June 7 at 8 AM local time, Prime Minister Hong and Brazorian president Eva Gutierrez declared that the Mexican government was responsible for perpetrating the attacks and that overnight, 4 of the 10 known perpetrators were arrested and being interrogated. News of this sent Sierrans demonstrating against the Mexican government, calling for the invasion and liberation of the Mexican people from the Mexican fascist government and punishment to the attackers and the government officials.
The San Diego Naval Base, home to Sierra's largest naval fleet, were prepared to mobilize at any time should the attack had been linked to a national government. Following the announcement that the attacks were linked to Mexico, the navy stated that it would be prepared to initiate an operation or blockade against the state should orders be made.
At 10 AM, Parliament announced it was once again, extending a joint session between the Senate and House of Commons with the formation of the Joint Select Committee of the Investigation of the San Diego Bombings. A bill officially declaring war on Mexico was introduced by Inland Empire commoner Scott Galloway (R) on the floor at 11 AM. Voting was delayed when a coalition of mostly Libertarians and Democratic-Republicans objected to the rash decision for war, claiming the investigation is still undergoing way and that diplomatic options had not been fully extended. Senator Eric Pipitone (L) did a filibuster for 18 hours, preventing the bill from reaching the Senate floor until the government agreed to negotiate with Mexico. Pipitone eventually relinquished his parliamentary act following pressure from the public, demanding justice. The Senate announced it would convene on the issue once more on June 9, taking diplomatic effort into consideration.
Following the attack, the hashtag #StandBySanDiego had began to trend on Twitter and became the dominate trending hashtag throughout the first week of the attack and was made by people from ordinary civilians to politicians and celebrities to showcase their support and solidarity with the victims of the attack and those living in San Diego as well. Members of the American Parliament from Sierra and the rest of the CAS also made tweets with the hashtag showing their solidarity with the victims of the attack and San Diego as a whole and was also tweeted out after the San Diego Relief Fund was announced.
Due to conflicting reports, a government official from the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs initially dismissed the Sierran-Brazorian claim that Mexico was responsible for the attacks, decrying it as "grave witch-hunting" and a dangerous precedent for making "wholly baseless, libelous accusations". However, the Ministry of Defense later applauded the attacks and stated that "loyal patriots" were behind the attacks. By noon, the Office of the Generalissimo, which was now occupied by Jose Rosario Macias (who had staged a coup against his predecessor, Pablo Hidalgo de Veracruz a week earlier), declared that the attacks were supported by the Mexican government although stopped short of actually sponsoring it. Macias claimed the attacks were done without the assistance or foreknowledge of the Mexican government but stated that the attacks were a "voice of the Mexican people" against the Bogota Agreement. The Mexican government had signed the treaty in order to conclude talks of the 2014 invasion of Central America but its signing was poorly received domestically and largely responsible for the deposition of former Generalissimo Pablo Hidalgo de Veracruz.
- CAS: Secretary General Johann Hauptsmann and President Kevin Wilcox of the Conference of American States condemned the attack as an unlawful aggressive attack against Sierra. Secretary General Hauptsmann called the attack "an unlawful attack and an attack on the CAS". CAS President Wilcox also called the attack "an attack on all of Anglo-America". The ensuing counter-terrorist operation was approved by both the American Parliament and the American Council and most member states supported the effort both militarily and non-militarily. On June 18, the CAS launched the San Diego Relief Fund and raised funds to help rebuild areas of San Diego most affected by the attacks. The fund was a massive success and resulted in over $4 billion being raised for the effort.
- United Commonwealth: Executive Secretariat Baron Avery denounced the attack and gave a speech condemning the Mexican government and accused the Veracruzist regime of engaging in an "illegal terror campaign" on Sierra and said that the attack on Sierra was also an attack on all of Anglo-America. The Central Congress had passed a resolution supporting counter-terror efforts against Mexican-backed insurgents and imposed further sanctions on the Mexican government. After Nathaniel Scribner was elected Executive Secretariat in 2016, Scribner continued efforts to isolate Mexico and also imposed sanctions on other members of the American Cooperation Organization that supported Mexico and denied any Mexican involvement in the San Diego bombings and contributed troops to counter-terror operations.
- Brazoria: President Charles Valdes condemned the attack in an official statement and letter he wrote to Steven Hong and Smith II showing his condolences. The night after the attack, both Valdes and Chancellor Robert Whitmore both gave a speech in Austin where they condemned the attack and accused the Mexican government of engaging in unlawful acts of aggression against Sierra and stated that such actions were also acts against Brazoria and Sierra's other allies. The next day, Whitmore gathered the Diet of Brazoria and addressed the assembly where he convinced the legislature to pass a resolution condemning Mexico for the attack and imposing new sanctions on the country. Whitmore also said that the Brazorian Army would have troops sent to aid in counter-terrorism operations on the Southern Border and also reiterated Brazoria's support to Sierra's claims in the ongoing El Norte dispute saying that "an aggressive regime like Veracruz's doesn't deserve to have any of their claims taken into serious consideration".
- Northeast Union: President Rodrigo Guimaraes gave a speech where he had unilaterally condemned the bombing as an illegal act and stated that the Northeast Union remained on the side of Sierra and announced the willingness to offer any help to Sierra in tracking down the seven attackers. Both chambers of the Northeastern Congress passed a resolution condemning the Mexican government and accused Veracruz of being a supporter of international terrorism and labeled Mexico a state-sponsor of terrorism. Vice President Debrah Darwins had called both chambers of Congress to pass the resolution and helped raise funds for reliving San Diego with the Northeast Union contributing a fifth of all the funds raised in the relief program. The Northeast Union has also played a major role in tracking down the seven orchestrators of the attack since 2016.
- Poland-Lithuania: President Krzysztof Rześny had sent a letter of condolence a day after the attack and held a press conference on the same night where he denounced the attack as "barbaric, monstrous, and unacceptable" and laid full blame for the attack on Veracruz and the Mexican government. Following the attack, he announced that Poland-Lithuania would officially recognize the Constitutional Assembly of Mexico, a provisional government-in-exile opposed to the current Veracruzist regime, and stated that he would aid Sierra in imposing fresh sanctions on Mexico in response for the attack. When the Mexican delegation at the League of Nations didn't attend an emergency meeting held in response to the bombing, Rześny and the Polish-Lithuanian government gave out a statement accusing the Mexican government of cowardice and for supporting terrorism.
- Quebec: President Pierre Veillette condemned the attack and laid the blame for the attack on Mexico and sent a letter to the Sierran government from his Liberal Party administration sending their regrets for the attack and accusing the Mexican government of sponsoring terrorism against Anglo-America. Vice President Tristan Diotte had traveled to Porciúncula two days after the attack and held a press conference with Prime Minister Hong where he condemned the attack and said that Quebec would support sanctions against the Mexican government and would recognize the Constitutional Assembly as the legitimate government of Mexico. The National Assembly invited Deputy President María José Gálvez of the Assembly to speak in the Parliament Building and recognized her as the official head of government of Mexico.
- Rainier: Prime Minister Andrew Clarkson condemned the attack and assembled his cabinet in order to address the attack. A day after the attack, Clarkson gave a speech where he condemned Mexico and said that he would work to have the Parliament recognize the Constitutional Assembly over the Veracruzist government. A resolution was passed by the July 20 and was supported by both the then incumbent National Union Party and the Labour Party lead by Alexander Llewellyn in the Opposition. The Rainian government later met with members of the Constitutional Assembly and forced diplomats from Mexico to leave the country and replaced them with diplomats aligned with the assembly to showcase Rainier's support to the assembly and opposition to Veracruz and his government.