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MailTribune.com
  • Residents shaken by explosion, grateful outcome wasn't worse

  • Neighbors jolted out of their sleep by the bomb blast that damaged the Jackson County District Attorney's Office early Wednesday morning clutched their children and prepared to flee.
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  • Neighbors jolted out of their sleep by the bomb blast that damaged the Jackson County District Attorney's Office early Wednesday morning clutched their children and prepared to flee.
    "It was loud, and it was deep," said Chelsey Gallery, a 26-year-old mother of two who also cares for two foster children.
    Gallery could see flames within about 100 feet of her back door, thinking at first that leaves or some yard debris had caught fire at the District Attorney's Office on 10th Street, near Laurel Street. She said the fire never amounted to much, and police and fire personnel were on the scene quickly.
    Gallery and other neighbors tried to catch a glimpse of the propane tank that the bomber tried to explode near the front door of the District Attorney's Office. The aluminum-colored container, which appeared to be 5 to 10 gallons, had a large dent on one side but was otherwise intact.
    Gallery lives just behind the crime scene. If the detonation had been successful, Gallery worries that it could have destroyed her house.
    "I think it was very selfish of these people not to think of the surrounding families that could have been harmed," she said.
    Like other neighbors, Gallery is nervous the bomber could return and try again.
    "I'm just freaked that there could be another one," she said.
    Gallery said she would like to move away so she could protect her children.
    The neighborhood behind the District Attorney's Office is filled with rentals occupied by young families.
    Along 10th Street are the Community Justice Building, the rear entrance to the Jackson County Jail and various attorney and other professional offices. Just a short distance up 10th Street is the site of one of the worst homicides in the valley's history, where Jordan Criado murdered his wife and four children on July 18, 2011.
    While police secured the streets around the bomb scene, investigators went door-to-door and into backyards looking for evidence and questioning people.
    Agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives searched rooftops, parking lots and yards looking for debris from the detonator device or other clues.
    The Oregon State Police Bomb Squad and the FBI are involved in the investigation, which so far hasn't identified a suspect.
    Neighbors huddled in front yards discussing what Medford police Chief Tim George described as an act of "domestic terrorism."
    Daniel Huizar said he wished he could move away from the area for the safety of his family.
    Huizar turned 30 Wednesday and wasn't sure whether he would be celebrating. "It's not happy anymore," he said.
    He said he thought a transformer had exploded when he heard what sounded like a deep concussion followed by an echo.
    "It rattled the neighborhood," he said.
    Huizar's neighbor and cousin, Cory Evans, said he and his wife, Jasmine, couldn't figure out what had happened.
    "It was like it came into my dream," 20-year-old Jasmine said.
    Cory said he remembers telling his wife, "'Baby, that's definitely no gunshot.'"
    Like other neighbors, the Evanses didn't notice anyone fleeing from the scene of the explosion.
    "We didn't see nothing," Jasmine said. "I was half asleep."
    "We're definitely moving," said her husband.
    Other neighbors didn't hear anything even though they were about 200 feet away.
    "That's crazy," Mary Loveland said as she walked dazed out of her house in the morning. "I didn't hear the explosion."
    Kyndra Maddox said she was awake and heard a loud noise.
    "It sounded like a sonic boom," she said.
    Maddox said she wasn't too concerned and went back to sleep with her husband.
    "It was in the middle of the night, and we didn't die, so we didn't give it much thought," she said.
    Next door to the District Attorney's Office are two law firms near the corner of 10th and Laurel streets.
    "I came to work, and it looked like our front yard was a crime scene," said Katherine Zerkel, an associate attorney with Fowler and McNair LLP.
    Attorney Jim Mueller, whose parking lot is next to the crime scene, said he and his wife saw the news in the morning and were prepared for the worst.
    "Our first concern was if anyone was hurt," Mueller said. "We were, of course, concerned that our building might be damaged."
    His wife surveyed the crime scene through the fence of her parking lot.
    "I think they definitely wanted to get rid of the DA's office," she said.
    Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow on Twitter at @reporterdm.
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