A powerful blast that launched an improvised missile through the roof of a Jewish synagogue in Santa Monica, Calif., was determined late Friday to be a deliberate attack with an improvised explosive and not an accident as police originally thought.
Ron Hirsch, 60, a transient who regularly sought charity from members of the synagogue and community center is wanted as a suspect by an FBI and police task force.
"Responding bomb technicians conducted initial field testing and found evidence of what appeared to be an industrial incident involving cement and other materials," according to the FBI on Thursday.
"Over the next 24 hours, bomb technicians and detectives conducted further forensic analysis at the scene and, after unearthing much of the large portion of the cement found, uncovered materials indicating that the device appeared to have been deliberately constructed," an FBI spokesperson said.
The bang shattered windows, punctured a hole in the synagogue and sent the 300-pound metal pipe into a neighbor's house where a young boy was sleeping.
There were about 100 people in surrounding homes and businesses at the time of the explosion that had to be evacuated. No one was hurt, but residents were not allowed back to their homes for five hours.
Hirsh was being sought on state charges of possession of a destructive device and other charges.
ABC News sources said the missile he allegedly constructed made clever use of the powerful force generated by a foam substance that expanded when wet after being packed into a confined space.
"Someone drilled a hole in a piece of concrete poured a material described as foam like into hole and sealed hole with a pipe and end cap," an explosives expert told ABC. "The material expands when wet. It launched the pipe and a large piece of concrete onto and through roof of Jewish school."
The Los Angeles Police Department, Santa Monica police and FBI are involved in the manhunt for Hirsch. They ask anyone with knowledge of the whereabouts of Hirsch to contact them.
Santa Monica Synagogue Explosion Suspect Considered DangerousThe investigation into the explosion outside the Chabad House, a synagogue, in Santa Monica at 6:45 A.M. on Thursday, April 7, 2011 has been underway since the initial report was received by the Santa Monica Police Department, the FBI said.
By Friday night, the investigation "determined that Items found in and around the mechanism are linked to an individual by the name of Ron Hirsch," according to police.
Police say that Hirsch, who uses the alias Israel Fisher was described as a male with brown hair and green eyes who stands 5'07" tall and weighs 207 pounds. He is known to frequent synagogues and Jewish community centers, and he is considered extremely dangerous.
As a result, institutions throughout the area have been warned. Hirsch is considered extremely dangerous, authorities said.
A flyer has been circulated through the ADL to the Jewish community.