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Birmingham clinic bomb set off by remote control, agents say


Slain officer honored on first anniversary of blast

January 29, 1999
Web posted at: 6:48 p.m. EST (2348 GMT)

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (CNN) -- A year to the day after a bomb killed a security guard and severely injured a nurse at a Birmingham women's clinic, investigators revealed Friday that they believe the device was set off by remote control.

Authorities say the man charged in the blast, Eric Robert Rudolph, waited outside the New Woman, All Women Health Care Clinic on January 29, 1998, and detonated the deadly bomb as he saw two people draw near the facility, where abortions are performed.

"Eric Rudolph is not a folk hero. He is a cold-blooded murderer," Police Chief Mike Coppage said at a news conference with federal agents.

Earlier Friday, a memorial service was held for Robert Sanderson, a Birmingham police officer killed in the bombing. He was moonlighting as a clinic security guard at the time of the blast.

A trumpeter played "Taps" and a police honor guard laid a wreath of white flowers at a memorial honoring officers killed in the line of duty.

The nurse injured in the blast, Emily Lyons, is still recuperating, having undergone 13 operations since the attack.

On the anniversary of the bombing, a memorial for the security guard killed  

Rudolph, 32, a carpenter and mountaineer, disappeared after the Birmingham clinic bombing. He is on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List, and 200 federal agents have been conducting a massive -- and so far unsuccessful -- search for him in the mountains of western North Carolina, where he grew up.

"At this point, he's tired and hungry. He's probably somewhat gaunt, and he's certainly in a diminished mental and physical state," said Jim Cavanaugh, spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Federal investigators believe he may be living in one of numerous caves that dot the rugged, remote area.

Rudolph has also been charged in three bombings in the Atlanta area: at Centennial Olympic Park during the 1996 Summer Olympics; at a women's clinic where abortions are performed in suburban Sandy Springs in January 1997; and at a nightclub with a predominantly lesbian clientele in February 1997.

One person was killed and more than 110 were injured in those attacks.

The bombs in Atlanta were set off with timers, rather than remote control devices, federal investigators say.

The federal charges lodged against Rudolph for the bombings carry the death penalty.

Correspondent Brian Cabell contributed to this report.

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