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Failed shopping mall bomb on anniversary of Columbine. Any connection?

Officials seek a 'person of interest' regarding an explosive device at a shopping mall in Colorado. Was it just coincidence that it was the 12th anniversary of the Columbine massacre?

By Staff writer / April 21, 2011

ATF agent Doug Lambert rolls up police crime scene tape at one of the entrances to Southwest Plaza Mall in Littleton, Colo., where police found a pipe bomb near two propane tanks after a fire broke out on Wednesday.

Ed Andrieski/AP

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Law enforcement officials have yet to find a “person of interest” they think might be connected to an explosive device found Wednesday at a shopping mall in Littleton, Colo. – just two miles from Columbine High School, where a similar device was found after the horrendous school shooting that killed 12 students and a teacher.

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The device found Wednesday – a pipebomb and two propane tanks – failed to detonate when a fire in a stairwell was quickly extinguished by a security guard.

The incident happened on the 12th anniversary of the Columbine massacre. Authorities, as well as former students and families still living with the memory of April 20, 1999, wonder if there’s any connection.

"Whether it’s coincidental or not, that's something we’re looking at very seriously," Jefferson County Sheriff Ted Mink told reporters Thursday.

Surveillance video at the Southwest Plaza Mall in Littleton show a white man with graying hair and mustache wearing a dark cap, striped shirt, dark jacket, and jeans. He’s carrying a white plastic bag.

For Brian Rohrbough, whose son Daniel was among those killed at Columbine, "It certainly appears to have a link to Columbine, in that it's a similar style crime and that the intent was obviously to hurt and kill innocent people."

After killing their fellow students and a teacher – apparently at random – Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed themselves. Unexploded pipe bombs and a propane tank with explosives attached were found in the Columbine cafeteria after the shootings.

"The kind of crime like Columbine will motivate a certain segment of the population to attempt the same type of crime, whether they're doing it because they're purely evil or in addition to being evil, they just want attention, I don't know,” Mr. Rohrbough told the Associated Press.

Twelve years after Columbine – and four years after the even deadlier attack at Virginia Tech when student Cho Seung-Hui killed 33 people and then himself – guns and schools remain a major social and political issue.

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