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Oklahoma man charged with throwing pipe bomb at Satanic Temple in Massachusetts

Oklahoma man arrested in Salem Satanic Temple bombing
Oklahoma man arrested in Salem Satanic Temple bombing 02:33

SALEM - An Oklahoma man was arrested Wednesday morning for allegedly throwing a pipe bomb at the Satanic Temple in Salem earlier this month.

Sean Patrick Palmer, 49, was charged with using an explosive to cause damage to a building used in interstate or foreign commerce. 

Surveillance video shows a suspect throwing a pipe bomb at the Satanic Temple in Salem on April 8, 2024. United States Department of Justice

Police said at 4:14 a.m. on April 8, a man lit the pipe bomb and then threw it onto the temple's front porch before running away. The bomb detonated and caused minor damage but no one was in the building at the time. 

Pipe bomb covered in nails

Court documents said the bomb was a plastic pipe covered in metal nails, which had been attached with tape, and that Palmer bought PVC pipe and a PVC pipe end cap in Oklahoma five days before the pipe bomb was thrown.

Pipe bomb found outside the Satanic Temple on April 8, 2024. United States Department of Justice

A six-page handwritten note was allegedly found in a flower bed near the temple. Among other things, the note allegedly said, "Elohim send me 7 months ago to give you peaceful message to hope you repent...Elohim now send me to smite Satan and I happy to obey."

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy said a photo of Palmer on social media showed him wearing a tactical vest similar to the one the suspect was wearing in surveillance video. He also allegedly made comments on social media about religious themes similar to what was in the note found at the scene. 

Investigators said a single human hair was located on the pipe bomb containing a DNA profile from a Caucasian male.     

Lucien Greaves is the cofounder of the temple and says he's thankful law enforcement could track the suspect down. "So many agencies swept in immediately when this happened," said Greaves.   

Palmer will appear in court in Oklahoma Thursday and will appear in federal court in Boston at a later date.

Previous threats against temple

The bombing is the latest in a string of incidents at the Satanic Temple. In January, a Michigan man was arrested for plotting to bomb the temple. In June of 2022, a Chelsea man was arrested for allegedly setting a fire there. 

"I am relieved that they got this guy," Greaves said. "I am concerned that I feel like we are in a cultural moment right now where people are at a hysterical pitch, and I feel like that is only going to get worse up until the election. But as for now, we can rest easy knowing at least this guy is in custody."

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