2020 La Casa Caliente bombing
|2020 La Casa Caliente bombing|
Madison Street, La Casa Caliente, where the bombing took place.
|Location||La Casa Caliente, Vellonia, Alcenia|
February 5, 2020 |
13:11 (UTC -7)
|Target||La Casa Caliente Police Department|
|Weapons||Unknown explosive; car bomb|
Ricardo Gaspar Gosales |
Adam Penn (suspected)
Anti-police sentiment |
Retaliation for the shooting of Boss Nichols
On February 5, 2020, a bomb fixed within a police patrol vehicle was detonated in central La Casa Caliente on Madison Street at approximately 13:11 local time which killed 23 people, including two police officers, and injured 291. Several buildings adjacent to the car bomb were severely damaged in the explosion.
The National Police Bureau, in conjunction with the La Casa Caliente Police Department and the Vellonia State Police, immediately launched an investigation and stated before a press conference that the incident was being treated as a terrorist attack. 24-year-old Ricardo Gaspar Gosales and his roommate 22-year-old Adam Penn were identified as suspects in the bombing and were arrested two days later on February 7.
The National Police Bureau stated shortly after the arrest of Gosales and Penn that they believe La Casa Caliente Police Department was the intended target of the attack. They also released the names of the two LCCPD officers killed in the explosion: Raisa Papp and Mitchell Smith, who were five and three year-long members of the force, respectively.
Anti-police demonstrations were being held in central La Casa Caliente in the weeks before the attack in response to recent revelations of corruption within the La Casa Caliente Police Department and the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Boss Nichols, a Vellonian hip hop artist.
Witnesses reported nothing out of the ordinary in the moments before the explosion. The explosion occurred on Madison Street, about 10 miles east of the La Casa Caliente City Hall and 13 miles of the Vellonia State Capitol. Both buildings were evacuated and streets leading to them were closed. A preliminary investigation quickly revealed parked car was the source of the explosion and further investigation confirmed a police patrol vehicle was used to house the explosives.
Within thirty minutes of the explosion, false reports of a second explosion began circulating, leading to a state of emergency being declared within La Casa Caliente by mayor Stephanie Hersch. Fake news and hoax reports also were spread on social media, which added to the confusion.
The bombing killed 23 people, including two police officers who were in the patrol vehicle when it exploded, and four children. One Canadian citizen was also confirmed to be among the dead and currently the only known foreign casualty. The oldest victim was a 78-year-old man and the youngest was a 3-year-old girl.
Ricardo Gaspar Gosales (born June 22, 1995), and Adam Penn (born November 4, 1997) were arrested two days after the attack. Gosales is a construction worker who had been unemployed for two months before the bombing. Penn is a 22-year-old student who attended Vasquez College in Adado, Vellonia. Gosales and Penn lived together for approximately one year as roommates. Reviews of their social media accounts showed they expressed support for various anti-police movements and police watchdog groups and made many comments critical of the La Casa Caliente Police Department, including threats of violence against personnel. They attended anti-police brutality demonstrations that formed in response to the shooting of rapper and musician Boss Nichols.
Downtown La Casa Caliente was placed on lockdown and the Vellonia State Capitol and La Casa Caliente City Hall were evacuated. The Vellonia House of Representatives was in the middle of debating on legislation when the explosion occurred.
- President Grant Carlyle tweeted "Horrid what's happened in LCC. Absolute condolences for the victims and godspeed to our first responders. There will be justice."
- Governor Sarah Summerfield said "This attack on Vellonians will not stand. I am in contact with the National Police Bureau, the State Police, and the La Casa Caliente Police and the perpetrators of this cowardly attack will be captured and brought to justice. Our sincerest thoughts and condolences go out to the victims of this attack."
- Mayor Stephanie Hersch ordered all flags within the city to be lowered to half-mast and expressed grief and sympathies for the families of the victims.
- The Fraternal Order of Police condemned the attack and said it should be treated as a hate crime.
- European Union - President Ursula von der Leyen condemned the attack.
- Canada - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the attack and said he would be reaching out to the family of the Canadian citizen who was killed.
- Mexico - Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard said "Alcenia is in our thoughts and we are watching developments closely."
- United Kingdom - Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the attack.