Bombing at Alabama abortion clinic kills guard, injures nurse

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A powerful bomb exploded at an abortion clinic Thursday morning, killing an off-duty police officer who had just arrived for his moonlighting shift as a security guard and critically injuring a nurse.
It was the nation’s first fatal bombing at an abortion clinic.
The blast, which blew a crater in the ground and shattered windows and shook walls a block away, came just a week after the 25th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade legalizing abortion.
Nearby dorms and a day care center were evacuated for fear of a second, delayed bomb blast. Police Chief Mike Coppage said late Thursday afternoon no other explosive was found.
He said no one had claimed responsibility by Thursday evening.
The bomb went off about 7:30 a.m. just outside the main entrance of the New Woman All Women Health Care clinic, rocking nearby buildings at the university and leaving a crater outside the blackened, wrecked entryway. The explosion occurred as clinic employees were arriving but about 30 minutes before doors normally open to patients.
The victims were identified as Officer Robert D. Sanderson, 35, and nurse Emily Lyons, 41. Both were from Birmingham.
Investigators said that a number of witnesses were being questioned but that there were no immediate suspects.
Members of the Atlanta task force that is investigating the clinic bombings there as well as bombings at the 1996 Olympics and a gay nightclub headed to Birmingham to see if there was any connection.
Authorities used a robot to examine what appeared to be a canister, similar to a coffee can, that was found near the clinic. There was no immediate word on what it contained.
The search for a possible second device was hampered because dogs sniffing for a bomb kept finding explosive debris that was scattered by the blast.
The New Woman clinic is one of four in Alabama challenging new state laws barring a certain type of late-term abortions. An anti-abortion march on Saturday to mark the Roe v. Wade anniversary included the clinic on its route.