Investigators have no idea who bombed a van outside the home of a forest ranger, but Sen. Harry Reid on Saturday blamed the attack on "extremist elements" within the states' rights movement.
The explosion Friday night destroyed District Ranger Guy Pence's van parked in his driveway. Pence was on a horseback trip in central Nevada at the time, but his wife and children were home. They were not hurt.Forest Service spokeswoman Erin O'Connor said no one has claimed responsibility for the attack. Officials had neither a suspect nor a motive.
But Reid blamed it on "the ugly underbelly of the county supremacy movement in Nevada," referring to those who are trying to wrest control of public lands in the West from the federal government.
"The perpetrators of this act are purely and simply, would-be killers," the Democrat said.
Nye County District Attorney Bob Beckett agreed, attributing the bombing to "vigilante behavior."
The attack comes four months after a pipe bomb exploded outside Pence's office, along the city's main street. No one was hurt because it happened after hours. No arrests have been made.
Three weeks earlier, on March 8, the Justice Department, citing threats against federal workers, sued Nye County, Nevada's largest county. The action was taken in an effort to quell the states' rights rebellion, also called the "Sagebrush Rebellion," under way in Nevada and four other Western States.