Why the Oklahoma City Bombing Was a Crime

Why the Oklahoma City Bombing Was a Crime

EXPLAINER: How and why do crowd surges turn deadly?



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Updated: 9:12 AM EST Dec 3, 2011

EXPLAINER: How and why do crowd surges turn deadly?


Rural America’s economic woes are often considered a rural phenomenon. But the roots of this economic plight exist in many suburban communities nationwide. How and why do mass crowds turn deadly? From a “crowd-fueled” mass shooting to the Oklahoma City bombing, explain the causes.



An investigation into the Oklahoma City bombing found that nearly 3,000 pounds of explosives were packed into four large shopping bags found at the scene of the April 19, 1995, bombing. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s bombing investigation team found that the bombing was carried out by James Earl Ray, who was sentenced to life in prison.

Ray was convicted of 11 crimes, including two murder-for-hire charges. Investigators discovered that Ray was responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York City.

“The bombs were the same size, had the same components and the same amount of explosives, so we know there was a connection,” Oklahoma County Sheriff Bill Lee said.

Investigators traced bomb components, including wires with connectors on the wires, to the “Nite Owl Lounge” in Lawton, Oklahoma. A year later, the FBI said that James Lee Ray, who lived in Lubbock, had used the building to store his collection of explosives and explosives-related paraphernalia. His collection included the chemicals ammonium nitrate and nitromethane, which are similar to ingredients found in fertilizer.

Investigators said the explosive manufacturing business Ray ran in the Lubbock area likely was his main source of income.

Ray’s business exploded when he decided to use the same business in Oklahoma City to manufacture explosive charges, the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s office said in a 1997 news release.

“We know that the Oklahoma City bombing was probably planned by James Lee Ray and his wife Elizabeth Ray in Lubbock, Texas,” said

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