Seaside explosion ‘clearly an act of terrorism,’ Christie says
SEASIDE PARK — As state and federal authorities continue investigating an explosion in a trash can that halted a chairity 5k race in Seaside Park Saturday, Gov. Chris Christie went on FOX News Sunday saying he believes the incident was an act of terrorism.
"It is clearly an act of terrorism now we just don't know who's responsible for it. Is it domestic source,a foreign source...we just don't know that at this time, but it was done intentionally to try and terrorize the people of New Jersey," Christie told host Chris Wallace.
Following Sunday's explosion just before the start of the Semper Five race, Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty announced that Sunday's San Gennaro festival has also been canceled as a precaution. The explosion canceled the Festival of the Sea seafood festival in Point Pleasant on Saturday. The Que By The Sea event in Seaside Heights is still on for Sunday.
FBI spokesman Mike Whittaker said Sunday that investigators are continuing to “run down leads, conduct interviews and collect evidence” and that no arrests have been made.
"We have some very promising leads but we have no one in custody at this time," Christie said on FOX News.
“Our offices are in constant communication” with information that is evaluated and digested, Whittaker said, but he could not speculate on a connection between the Seaside Park and another explosion in the Chelsea section of New York City.
During an appearance on CNN Sunday, Christie told host Jake Tapper that officials did not want to jump to any conclusions regarding a connection between the incidents in New York and New Jersey.
"You don’t want to put information out there that you don’t know is absolutely true. And so as I said, we have some promising leads. We are working with the FBI and our state police to follow them. But obviously, if you look at a number of these incidents, you can call them whatever you want, they are terrorism though," Christie said. "There is no doubt about that. They are terrorism. Now, who is responsible is something else and what the motive was is something else that hopefully we are going to find out in the days ahead."
The Seaside Park explosion took place prior to the start of the race Saturday. No one was hurt, authorities said.
"The fortunate thing here in New Jersey is that no one was injured. The race had not started yet down at the Jersey Shore," Christie said. "So we are very fortunate that no one is injured here and we pray for those people who were injured in those other attacks."
Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.