VanPac News History

Copyright 1989 Gannett Company Inc.  

December 21, 1989, Thursday, FINAL EDITION


LENGTH: 223 words

HEADLINE:Victims of letter bombs mourned

BYLINE: Andrea Stone


In Savannah, Ga., about 60 people gathered at St. James AME Church to pay tribute to city Alderman Robert Robinson, who was killed by a mail Bomb at his law office Monday.

Meanwhile, the FBI probed new clues linking the bombs:

- All had Georgia return addresses or postmarks.

- They may be connected to four anonymous letters sent last August declaring war on the 11th Circuit Court. A tear-gas canister injured eight people at the NAACP's Atlanta office shortly after.

The circuit, which includes Georgia, Alabama and Florida and in the 1960s also encompassed Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, was the site of most civil rights movement cases. It was ''where most of the confrontations and bloodbaths were,'' said NAACP Executive Director Benjamin Hooks.

- All are linked to school desegregation efforts.

Vance wrote an opinion won by the NAACP against Jacksonville, Fla., schools. Robinson represented the NAACP in a separate case.

The 11th Circuit's headquarters in Atlanta and the Jacksonville NAACP headquarters also received bombs this week. Both were disarmed.

While black leaders said the mail bombs renewed their determination, Hooks said the bombs are ''something brand new.'' Instead of attacks on churches and homes, ''This new breed of terrorist strikes through the mail. ... it is so randomly directed.''

GRAPHIC: EAR PHOTO; color, USA TODAY (Benjamin Hooks); PHOTO; b/w, Ric Feld, AP (Robert Vance funeral)
CUTLINE: HOOKS: Mail bombs are 'something new.' CUTLINE: MEMORIAL SERVICE: Police officers guard a Birmingham, Ala., church where services were held for Judge Robert Vance.