A package bomb exploded in the hands of Scottsdale's director of cultural diversity at his desk Thursday afternoon, injuring him, his assistant and another city employee.
“There was a window that was blown out and some shrapnel in the walls and ceiling . . . as well as in the victim,” said Tom Mangan, spokesman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which is investigating the 1:10 p.m. blast at the city's human resources building, 7575 E. Main St.
“Obviously, this was something that was intended to cause great bodily injury,” Mangan said.
Office of Diversity and Dialogue director Don Logan, 48, was taken to Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn hospital, where he had surgery Thursday for injuries to his hands and arms.
Logan's secretary Renita Linyard, 52, was in the hallway outside Logan's cubicle when the package exploded and suffered injuries to her face and eyes. She also had surgery at the hospital. Senior human resources representative Jacque Bell was treated at the scene, said city spokesman Pat Dodds.
Scottsdale Vice Mayor Wayne Ecton questioned whether the bomb had been sent to Logan because of his role within the city.
"The fact that he is in the position that he's in, it could be personal or it could be people that have a racial bias,'' he said of Logan, who is black.
The package, said to be about 8 inches by 11 inches, was addressed to Logan. An employee brought it to him from the mail room at the complex near the southwest corner of Indian School and Miller roads. Authorities were investigating whether it was delivered through the U.S. mail, hand-delivered, or through a private carrier such as FedEx.
Officials temporarily shut down Scottsdale's main post office at 7242 E. Osborn Road while bomb inspectors screened packages, said U.S. Postal Inspector Bob Maes.
Scottsdale police Sgt. Doug Dirren said the package had a Valley return address. “Suffice it to say (Logan) felt confident opening up the package,” Dirren said.
The bomb was triggered by his opening it, Mangan said. It blew a 3 1/2-inch hole in the desktop, he said.
Police blocked off traffic to Main Street and evacuated about 25 employees from the complex and buildings nearby. The explosion occurred in a southeast corner of the complex. City Hall, about 100 yards away, remained open.
Fears that the bomb may have contained biological hazardous material were put to rest after tests on the victims at the hospital came back negative, Mangan said. Officials closed off the hospital emergency room for about an hour for the tests.
Scottsdale police, bomb squads from Phoenix, Mesa and Glendale, and ATF and FBI agents converged on the building. All mail deliveries to city offices were stopped and employees were instructed not to open packages, officials said. Bomb-sniffing dogs were taken through city mail rooms.
"We don't have any kind of X-ray equipment,'' said Natalie Lewis, assistant to City Manager Jan Dolan.
"It was a scary incident but we're OK,” Lewis said.
Dirren said police officers have been assigned to Logan for protection.
“We have no specifics to what the exact threat was,” Dirren said. “His family is with him as well as Scottsdale police. And until we find out what the status is and why this occurred, they will be well taken care of.”
Dolan said city officials were outraged at the incident.
"Such hateful action will not be tolerated," she said in a statement issued Thursday night. "The safety of our employees and citizens is our highest priority. We are doing everything possible to ensure that city offices are safe."
Mangan was optimistic investigators would have plenty of leads to follow.
“The blast scene is going to tell us everything,” he said. “We had an advantage because it was contained mainly in an office. We are going to get a great deal of evidence from this.”
Citywide e-mails notified employees of the explosion Thursday afternoon. One message said: "Employees should not open any mail or packages until further notified. Please feel free to call your family members and let them know that you're okay.''
Mayor Mary Manross was leaving the annual celebration of Scottsdale founder Winfield Scott on the Civic Center Mall when she heard about the explosion. She went to the hospital to see the injured employees' families.
"The most important thing to get out is that the couple that were injured, they're going to be OK,” she said. “They're mobile, they're lucid, they're walking around.”
Ecton said it was ironic that city employees earlier this month had received a safety alert about opening suspicious packages.
“I immediately called my wife and said, ‘Don't open any packages or anything you don't know about,’ ” he said.
Councilman Bob Littlefield said he never thinks twice about opening his mail. But, "I guess I'm going to start thinking about it now,'' he said.
City buildings have signs posted that instruct employees about what to do if they see a suspicious package.
Mangan said the last package explosion in the Valley was March 2000 in Chandler. A bomb delivered to the door of a Revlon executive tore off one of his fingers and peppered his torso with shrapnel.
- Staff writers Bill Bertolino, Joe Kullman and Erin Reep contributed to this report.