A 41-year-old licensed embalmer has been arrested and charged in connection with two small bomb blasts, apparently motivated by racist hatred, that went off in men's rooms at historically black Florida A&M University.
No one was injured in the Aug. 31 and Sept. 22 blasts at the Tallahassee campus, but the attacks prompted increased security and widespread fears among students and parents. After the first bombing, an anonymous caller told WTXL-TV, "We need to get rid of some of them niggers."
After the second, a caller to the same station said, "They got no business having a college where there ain't nobody ... smart enough to get a degree."
Lawrence Michael Lombardi, an unemployed father of two who has no known ties to hate groups, was arrested 10 days after the second blast at the 12,000-student campus and charged with one federal count of manufacturing a bomb.
Authorities said little about the evidence against Lombardi or his motivations, but a former boss of his at an Ohio morgue said Lombardi was "a survivalist type individual, preparing for doomsday."
A police cordon around the campus was lifted after the arrest, although security remained tight in other ways. The attacks raised concerns statewide.
"Here they are, in college, trying to make a better world and get an education and contribute to society," State Rep. Frederica Wilson, who has a son at the Florida campus, told The Miami Herald before the Oct. 1 arrest. "And they still are looked upon as the N-word."