On this day 24 years ago, the worst domestic terrorist attack in American history took place in Oklahoma City.
At 9:02 a.m., a bomb placed in a Ryder truck by Timothy McVeigh exploded in front of the federal Murrah building. The blast destroyed one-third of the building and damaged 324 other structures within a 16-block radius.
The explosion killed 168 people, including 19 children, and injured another 600. It was so powerful that it registered as a 3.0 on the Richter scale.
It was the deadliest terrorist attack in the country’s history until the 9/11 attacks.
McVeigh was arrested 90 minutes after the attack on an unrelated traffic violation. It took the police just a couple of days to connect him to the bombing. His accomplice Terry Nichols was also arrested soon after the attack.
It came out in the trial that McVeigh’s motivations stemmed from a deep hatred of the federal government that developed while he was enlisted in the U.S. Army.
His hatred was further deepened by the Waco standoff just a couple of years before. He made sure that his bombing occurred on the two-year anniversary of the fiery end to the standoff.
He wanted revenge by bombing a significant spot of federal government operations.
McVeigh was tried in federal court and found guilty on 11 charges of murder and conspiracy. He was sentenced to death.
He was later convicted in a separate state trial.
McVeigh was executed on June 11, 2001, at Terre Haute Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana. He was the first federal execution in nearly 40 years.