Police are looking for “a person of interest” in the case of an explosive device that was left at Asheville Regional Airport early Friday morning.
An airport official previously had said the package discovered at 6:30 a.m. was only made to look like an explosive device, but law enforcement officials said Friday afternoon it actually contained explosive matter.
“It did include explosive materials,” said Shelley Lynch, public affairs specialist with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Charlotte Office. “I’m not at liberty to describe what it looked like, but it was a device that included explosive materials.”
Airport Police discovered the item, described as an “explosive device,” and the Asheville Police Department’s Hazardous Device Team responded to render it safe, according to a departmental press release.
“We are requesting public assistance to locate a person of interest in this incident,” APD spokeswoman Christina Hallingse said in the release. “The white male has been seen in multiple locations along Airport Road since Tuesday, Oct. 3. We encourage anyone with information regarding the identity of this person of interest, or if anyone has seen a person matching this description, to please not approach him and immediately call 911.”
A picture of the man shows a white male with graying hair, wearing a ball cap and a black hoodie, while pushing a shopping cart in a store.
The Asheville Police Department, FBI, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the Asheville Regional Airport Police Department are working the incident.
“The airport has not experienced an incident like this in more than a decade,” Asheville Regional Airport spokeswoman Kinsey said.
The airport’s police department, as well as the Asheville Police Department bomb squad, responded to the incident after airport police noticed the bag on a curb near the baggage claim area.
The main drive into Asheville Regional Airport was closed for about two hours Friday morning, as well as part of the main terminal.
“Our Department of Public Safety identified this suspicious package and immediately responded and called for a mutual aid response,” Kinsey said.
After police cleared the package, Terminal Drive was reopened to traffic about 8:45 a.m. Kinsey said. All morning flights had already departed or were in the process, so no flights were affected.
Kinsey said she had no further details on the package, other than it may have been a bag of some sort.
Hallingse said Friday afternoon no additional information was available.
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