Chilling 911 tapes reveal that the elderly suspect in a Georgia law office bombing apparently repeatedly crashed his car into the building and tried to burst inside with a gas can as explosives blew out windows and mayhem ensued.
The suspect, 78-year-old Lloyd Cantrell, died in the blast. He is believed to have orchestrated the attack in Dalton, in the northwest corner of the state, because of a bitter dispute he was having with his son Bruce Cantrell, whose attorney worked at the law firm.
The emergency tapes were released Tuesday.
"He keeps ramming the building with his car," employee Teresa Stinnett said to the 911 dispatcher. "He's got a gas can ... he's trying to bust in ... he just busted in the window. He's pouring gas in here."
Stinnett was apparently trying to call police and warn colleagues simultaneously.
"He's got gas with him, come in, come in," she can be heard saying. "He's got gas with him, coming towards the building. Someone needs to get here like, now."
Cantrell was carrying a homemade bomb with him, which he set off. The explosion killed only him but injured four others.
"I was trying to make sure everybody was in one group so if something did happen, we'd all be right there together," Stinnett told WSBTV.com.
Meanwhile an autopsy showed that Cantrell died from multiple blunt injuries.
Whitfield County Coroner Bobbie Dixon said Monday that he also had burns to his head, upper torso and arms.
Cantrell and his son were embroiled in a battle over property in north Georgia.
The targeted law firm was McCamy, Phillips, Tuggle & Fordham in Dalton, 26 miles southeast of Chattanooga, Tenn., whose offices are in a two-story, colonial-style house. Some in the small blue-collar town of 30,000 felt vibrations from more than a block away.
Authorities last week identified the bomber as Lloyd Cantrell, a man known around town for wearing bib overalls and carrying a small Chihuahua. Over the years, Cantrell amassed several parcels of land in the area, and gave some of the property to his son.
His son had grown fearful of his father, though, and filed a lawsuit seeking to keep his dad off the property the son had been given, claiming the elder man stole tools, kicked down a door and was suicidal.
Authorities said it was too early to talk about a motive in the case, but the dispute between the father and son was well-documented in court records.
"Essentially, what we've got here is not an act of terrorism," said Scott Sweetow, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. "It is a depraved individual, by all accounts, who decided to launch what ended up being a suicide attack."
Police were called Friday morning to a disturbance at the firm of An officer saw a man get out of a sport utility vehicle and run behind the building. The explosion followed.
Authorities think Cantrell threw the explosive through a front window or door. As of late Friday, they hadn't identified the nature of the explosive.
Inside the SUV, authorities found cylinders of natural gas, propane gas and gasoline, which they carefully removed before towing the vehicle late Friday.
Two of the injured were treated at a hospital and released, and one was admitted. A fourth, attorney Jim Phillips, was taken to a burn center in Augusta. Hospital spokeswoman Anne Cordeiro said he was in critical condition.
A block and a half from the blast site, bank executive Wayne Russell said he heard and felt the explosion.
"It sounded like a transformer that's blown," said Russell, 53, executive vice president of Omni National Bank. "We could actually feel a sort of rocking motion from the explosion."
The firm housed the office for Samuel L. Sanders, who represented Cantrell's son in the legal dispute that dated back at least two years. A police spokesman said he didn't know whether Sanders was in the office at the time of the explosion.
Lloyd Cantrell's attorney, David Blackburn, said Cantrell's son, Bruce, filed a lawsuit seeking to block his father from the land, in part claiming that his dad carried a pistol with him and threatened to kill himself.
"He has repeatedly said that 'The only thing that would keep me off the property is to be put in jail,"' according to a complaint filed by Bruce Cantrell's attorney in 2006.
The case was set to go trial in August, but it was delayed.
"I know he got frustrated because it took so long," Blackburn said of his client. He described the family as "abysmally dysfunctional."
"He was a pretty nice old man," Blackburn said of the father. "He was a little cantankerous at times, and I think he was really frustrated."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.