An explosive damaged a Beaumont church Thursday after a device donated on the front steps of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church. The Episcopal Diocese of Texas confirmed the front of the building was damaged by a blast. Investigators with the Beaumont Police department and the ATF cordoned off the church in the 4000 block of Delaware Street as they investigated "suspicious damage".
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Bishop C. Andrew Doyle of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas wrote a post on Facebook saying a "package bomb" detonated on the church's front steps sometime between Wednesday's last service and Thursday morning. Doyle also posted an update that announced St. Stephen's Episcopal Church and All Saints Episcopal churches will remain closed until further notice.
Local police also issued a warning that if anyone in the community were to see anything suspicious they are urged to say something and not to touch anything out of place. A press conference held by the Beaumont Police Department said the damage to the church was only minor and the case is now a joint investigation between the ATF and the FBI. A Beaumont Police spokesperson said, "We are utilizing a large amount of resources to try to get on this as quickly as possible."
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Beaumont PD wants to remind our community if you see something, say something. If you see anything that looks suspicious or out of place, please do not touch it. Keep a safe distance and call 911. We are working with our Law Enforcement partners at <a href="https://twitter.com/FBIHouston?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@FBIHouston</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/ATFHou?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ATFHou</a>.</p>— Beaumont Police Dept (@beaumont_police) <a href="https://twitter.com/beaumont_police/status/994660733949566976?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 10, 2018</a></blockquote>
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They also said they are unable to release much information about the crime at this time but that Houston area law enforcement is providing help. "We want the citizens to know that we are doing everything possible to make sure that this suspect or suspects are captured as soon as possible," the spokesperson said. The entire press conference can be seen here:
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Less than two weeks ago, a bomb squad was called to a Starbucks just two miles away from the church where the explosion occurred. Police say a bomb was found at the Starbucks and was defused before it could explode but gave no indication whether the two bombs were related. It is also unclear whether the bombs are related to or inspired by the Austin bomber that terrorized Texas residents earlier this year.
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