From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Bombing Injures Alabama Episcopal Priest

From George Gundrey <>
Date Fri, 12 Jan 1996 12:34:59 -0800 (PST)

by the Rev. Kenneth L. Fields
        (ENS) An unexplained bombing injured an Episcopal priest in the
Diocese of Alabama on New Year's Day.
        The Rev. Michael Schnatterly, rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church
in Opelika, Alabama, suffered a broken wrist and finger, as well as
contusions on his face, neck and abdomen, but escaped more serious injury
from a bomb that FBI officials said was designed to kill its victim.
        According to investigators, a note found at the scene may indicate
that the bomb was intended for a retired federal agent who lives across the
street from Schnatterly.   
        Schnatterly found a package sitting on the trunk of his car in the
carport of his home about 9 a.m. on New Year's Day. When he moved the
package, it exploded, expelling nails and other debris with enough force to
penetrate the carport's roof.  Schnatterly underwent surgery to remove
metal fragments and at least one carpenter's nail from his arms and hands,
the New York Times reported. He is currently listed in good condition at
East Alabama Medical Center.

Bishop attacks senseless violence
        In a statement, Bishop Robert O. Miller of Alabama decried what he
called "a senseless act of violence . . . directed at a priest" and asked
for prayers for Schnatterly and "for this nation, that we may all turn away
from violence and embrace the peace beyond understanding, which our God has
promised us."
        While officials have not determined a motive for the bombing, they
said the note suggests that the bomb could have been intended for Fred
Thomas, who retired from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and
Firearms 20 years ago and lives across the street from Schnatterly, the
Times reported. They are also exploring the possibility that the bomb might
be the work of a type of "militia" group of the kind associated with the
Oklahoma City bombing suspects.
        Schnatterly came to Alabama from the Diocese of Easton, where he
was assistant rector of Christ Church in the town of St. Michael's,
Maryland, from 1989 to 1993. He has been rector of Emmanuel for
two-and-a-half years. He and his wife, Lorelle, have two sons.

--The Rev. Kenneth L. Fields is Communications Officer for the Diocese of
Alabama. James H. Thrall, deputy director of news and information for the
Episcopal Church, contributed to this article.

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