DENVER – Thaddeus Cheyenne Murphy, age 44, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, was arrested late yesterday on charges of arson and being a felon in possession of firearms, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, ATF and Colorado Springs Police Department announced. Murphy is believed responsible for placing a device at 603 South El Paso Street in Colorado Springs. Murphy is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael E. Hegarty at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon in the Arraj Federal Courthouse, 901 19th Street, where he will be advised of his rights and the charges pending against him. A detention hearing and preliminary hearing will be scheduled for a date to be set next week.
According to an affidavit in support of a Criminal Complaint, on January 6, 2015 at 10:48 am the Colorado Springs Police department received reports of an explosion at a building located at 603 South El Paso Street in Colorado Springs. Police officers responded, as did their bomb squad. Further, soon thereafter federal agents from the FBI and the ATF jointly responded to the scene to work with the police department in conducting the investigation. The device was a road flare and pipe bomb near a container of gasoline. The device was lit, causing an explosion. The gasoline did not ignite. The building and sidewalk were charred as a result of this device.
Multiple interviews were done by law enforcement of witnesses who noticed a specific type of truck and an individual fleeing the scene. Extensive investigation done by law enforcement eventually lead to the identification of a truck that closely matched the description of the truck fleeing the scene. Also, the person driving the truck generally resembled the sketch drawn by the Colorado Springs Police Department. After determining the individual’s identity, and developing probable cause that the owner of the truck, Thaddeus Murphy, was the likely person responsible for the device, federal agents working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office obtained a search warrant of the target’s home. While executing the warrant, agents and officers found seven firearms, and devices similar to the one used at the building. Murphy has prior felony convictions, which made it illegal for him to possess the firearms. Also during the search, Murphy was interviewed by federal law enforcement where he stated that the target of his criminal actions was not the NAACP, but that he had a different motive. The investigation continues regarding the motive for the attack. The residents of Colorado Springs, and the occupants of the building in question, can rest assured that the person who allegedly placed the device is now in custody.
Murphy is charged with one count of arson of a building. If convicted on that count, he faces not less than 5 years, and up to a $250,000 fine. He also faces one count of being a felon in possession of firearms. If convicted on that count, he faces not more than 10 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine.
This case is being jointly investigated by the FBI, ATF and the Colorado Springs Police Department with support from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.
The defendant is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gregory Holloway and Beth Gibson.