Originally created 03/15/97

FBI ID seven from park bomb photos

ATLANTA - A man who witnesses say was sitting on a bench smoking a cigarette shortly before the bombing at Centennial Olympic Park is one of two people the FBI still wants to identify.

The other, seen only in a fuzzy silhouette released by the FBI, was wearing a long shirt or smock and carrying what might have been a backpack as he walked near the blast site.

The FBI on Thursday released blurred, dark and nearly unrecognizable pictures of eight people and an artist's sketch of the smoking man, saying it wanted to talk to the nine as possible witnesses to the July 27 bombing, which killed one and injured more than 100.

By Friday, only two remained unidentified.

It is the third time agents have made public pleas for help with the case.

"We haven't concluded anything. We're still in the process of interviewing people. It would be premature to say anything beyond that at this point," Jack Daulton, head of an FBI task force investigating the bombing, said Friday.

Meanwhile, a woman who says she, her husband and daughter were pictured in one FBI photo has turned over a videotape she took minutes before the bombing. The tape appears to show two guards searching under a bench before the explosion. The bomb had been placed under a bench in a knapsack.

Sara Anderson of suburban Woodstock said she recognized herself and her family in a blurry, color photo of three people sitting on the ground near where the bomb exploded.

"I was surprised," she told WAGA-TV on Thursday. "I was just joking with my husband... I said, `I'll be darned if we won't be on TV, because we were there."'

Ms. Anderson said she remembered being told to leave the area because of a security problem, but no one mentioned the possibility of a bomb.

The FBI on Friday would not confirm that the Andersons were the people in the picture, but FBI agents were seen Thursday night entering a pizza restaurant where Ms. Anderson works.

Mr. Daulton would not say if more pictures would be released.

Agents have analyzed about 1,000 videos and 5,000 photos turned in by the public.

The pictures released Thursday were enhanced from videotapes and still photos of people in the park shortly before the blast.

"You should have seen what we started with. Most were poor quality to begin with, and they were taken at night," Mr. Daulton said. "It's a very laborious task."

Callers to a tip line also identified a photo of three men walking near the blast site and a man videotaped apparently wearing a military-style backpack.

"Some people called in on their own, others had friends call," Mr. Daulton said. "There is a hesitancy. I think people are cautious about their privacy and we respect that."

Although agents have not linked the explosion at the park to recent bombings in Atlanta, the possibility of a connection played a part in the release of the photos.

"The potential for an additional bombing certainly moved us along a little bit. It's something we have to consider with every step of the investigation," Mr. Daulton said.

Twin bombs exploded in January at an abortion clinic north of Atlanta, injuring seven people, and last month a bomb injured five people at a lesbian nightclub.


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