Explosive experts with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are being asked to investigate improvised explosive devices which were thrown at officers by rioters at the West Precinct Sunday. Some of the devices are believed to have been layered in BBs, intended to spray shrapnel when the devices exploded, according to sources with knowledge of the investigation.
Among the 12 officers injured in the confrontation, one had neck injuries caused by flying debris from an explosive.
"The protesters lit mortar-type fireworks and threw them at officers from a very close range," said SPD spokesperson Sgt. Lauren Truscott. "Those devices can blind, maim and kill people."
Sources tell KIRO-7 some of the devices appeared to have been built with fireworks, but altered with the intention to cause more damage.
According to the ATF, a person can be charged with federal weapons and bomb charges by building or altering an explosive to cause damage or injuries. "Any combination of parts designed and intended for use in converting a device into a destructive device, " can be interpreted as a federal violation," according to the National Firearms Act.
SPD declined to give specifics on the investigation, but according to Seattle Police Guild President Mike Solan, officers are facing an unprecedented threat.
"Those explosives were definitely meant to maim, let alone possibly kill Seattle Police officers that were following orders to protect public safety facilities," Solan said.
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