Woodburn bank bombing suspect identified

Woodburn bank bombing suspect identified

SALEM, Ore. - Authorities on Monday identified the suspect in the fatal Woodburn bank bombing as a 32-year-old Salem man.

Joshua Abraham Turnidge of 4162 Nolan Lane N.E. is facing charges of:

  • Manufacturing and possessing a destructive device
  • First- and second-degree assault
  • Conspiracy to commit aggravated murder
  • Two counts of attempted aggravated murder
  • Six counts of aggravated murder

Turnidge is scheduled to be arraigned in a Marion County courtroom on Tuesday. Authorities would not say how they believe the man is linked to the crimes or how they tracked him down. Investigators obtained a warrant and were searching his home Monday.

He was arrested late Sunday shortly after Marion County Sheriff Russ Isham released surveillance photos (including the one at right) of a "person of interest" in the case. Authorities later confirmed they believed the pictures were of Turnidge. 

Investigators believe he is responsible for the bombing that killed two officers and critically injured the Woodburn police chief on Friday. A bank employee was also hurt in the blast.

Court records show he has no serious offenses in Oregon - mainly traffic violations such as driving without a seat belt.

Public records show that Turnidge is divorced, has worked as a steelworker and has lived in various Oregon communities as well as in Nevada and Washington state. The records show he served in the Navy at Great Lakes, Ill.

Neighbors said he recently lived about a month in a north Salem neighborhood with a woman and a girl, in a camper trailer at the home of the woman's mother, and he hoped to start a business using cooking oil to fuel cars.

One neighbor, Ray Daniel, said the three kept to themselves and recently experienced a death in the family.

"It's been a tough year for the family," Daniel said.

Another neighbor, Bruce DeForest, said the three had been in and out of the neighborhood several times over the last three years and moved out recently.

On Monday, police sealed off an area in another Salem neighborhood where Turnidge had just moved.

His landlord, Randy Jacobsen of Keizer, said he met Turnidge about a month ago. Jacobsen said he agreed to let Turnidge move into the house at a reduced rate in exchange for refinishing the hardwood floors and other renovations.

The two had gone out to dinner, Jacobsen said, and become friends.

Jacobsen called Turnidge a "very hard working, upstanding guy."

"We're still in shock," Jacobsen said. "I don't know if he's guilty or not. If he is, I'd be shocked."

Jacobsen also said he had allowed Turnidge to collect oil from his Salem restaurant and bar.

Jacobsen said he understood Turnidge was self-employed and once owned a business that involved erecting cell phone towers.

He has relatives in the Salem area. One, Pat Turnidge, interrupted a conversation with detectives Monday to tell The Associated Press that he had been asked not to discuss his nephew. Other close relatives did not return phone calls.

Authorities said they believe he has experience in electronics and welding but they were still investigating Monday whether there were any co-conspirators. 

On Sunday, Isham said cell phones and items that might have been used to make the Woodburn bomb were bought in Bend last month. Authorities would not elaborate on how cell phones might have been used. Bombers often use cell phone signals to remotely detonate explosives.

Officials said revealing anything about the "manner and build" of the bomb would hurt the investigation.

The manager of a Woodburn branch of West Coast Bank found the device Friday after a call about a bomb threat to a nearby Wells Fargo bank branch that turned up a harmless device. The bomb was found outside, but the officers took the bomb into the bank, where it exploded.

Woodburn Police Chief Scott Russell remained in critical condition Sunday at a Portland hospital as a result of the blast that killed Woodburn police Capt. Tom Tennant and Oregon State Police Senior Trooper William Hakim.

Robert Sznewajs, the CEO of West Coast Bank, said Sunday that the bank planned to establish a fund for the families of the law enforcement officers.

Though the arrest of Turnidge was not the result of a citizen tip, investigators were still asking anyone with information on the case to call a tip line at 1-888-780-5678. A $35,000 reward is still being offered for information leading to the conviction of anyone responsible for the crime.

- The Associated Press contributed to this report