A man killed himself with a car bomb after detonating another bomb at the home of a former coworker in western Nevada on Wednesday, a neighbor told The Daily Beast.
Two explosions rocked the small, mostly Mormon town of Panaca, Nevada on Wednesday evening in a bizarre attack that police said only injured a boy on a nearby bicycle. The blasts were powerful enough to send some debris a mile away.
Richard Katschke, a retired schoolteacher and coach, is a neighbor of the Cluff family, whose house was targeted by the bizarre bombings. The Cluffs lived in that house with their three daughters, Katschke said, adding that they had recently finished putting on an addition to allow one of their mothers to move in.
Katschke said he and his wife were reading scripture and getting ready for evening prayer when the blast shook their world.
“Out here in rural nevada we’re used to sonic booms,” he said. “But this was magnitudes above that.”
The first blast came from a car parked out front. Then, another bomb exploded in the back of the house, Katschke said. Joshua Cluff and one of the daughters were not home, he added. Attempts to reach the couple were unsuccessful. A relative declined to comment to The Daily Beast, other than to say the blast did not occur at her house.
One close family friend told Katschke that Tiffany had seen the man, who had worked with her husband at a local hospital, in her backyard, planting the bomb. Another person said the man had knocked on the front door twice, giving them a heads up.
“He told her that if you want to live, you need to get out now,” Katschke said. “He was bent on destruction but not on killing anyone.”
The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office said in a press release that there was one fatality and one non-life threatening injury. The fatality is believed to be the man who set off the bombs. At a press conference Thursday, officials said the small police department would be trying to reconstruct what kinds of explosives were used.
The blast caused significant damage to the newly finished home, and blew out the windows in the house across the street.
Katschke said that the dead suspect tused to work as a nurse alongside Joshua Cluff. (The suspect has not been named by police.) He was a nice man in his 50s, and Katschke said the man had really gone the extra mile for his mother before she died.
Police said Thursday that there is a related investigation ongoing in another state, and that the bomber was a "disgruntled former employee" of Grover C. Dills Hospital.
“He was fired from his job or released from his job at the hospital,” Katschke said. “He had since moved away. He moved away, so he came back just to do this.”
On Facebook, friends and neighbors posted frantic messages asking who could have carried out such a crime in their small town. “Who would do such a thing?” one wrote.
“This is not a violent place,” Katschke said. “But the times in which we live... anything can happen.”