Suspect in Pasadena’s Brush with Terrorism Still Eludes Authorities

Published : Wednesday, September 11, 2019 | 4:49 AM

As the nation honors those who lost their lives 18 years ago on Sept. 11, Pasadena police officials are considering another appeal to the public for help identifying a man who tossed a bomb into the Cheesecake Factory two years ago.

On February 2, 2017, a man threw an explosive device into the Cheesecake Factory on Colorado Boulevard and Fair Oaks Avenue.

The bomb exploded, but investigators say no one in the crowded restaurant was hurt because the device was poorly made.

After the attack, the man fled the area. Authorities have carefully traced his escape route.

He walked to Ralph’s supermarket on Colorado Boulevard near Orange Grove, where he was caught on camera walking down the aisles, then sitting outside, and finally throwing away his coat in the trash.

Investigators hoped the man’s unusual gait would help identify him, but in nearly three years he has not been named.

According to Lt. Jesse Carrillo, who remains in contact with the FBI on the case, so far the agency’s facial recognition software has not been able to identify the suspect.

“The technology currently isn’t picking him up, isn’t reading that he is someone who’s already currently in a database somewhere,” he said.

Carrillo said the department is considering releasing a new press release with the suspect’s information and picture, similar to the one that was placed on several businesses a year after the event occurred.

“Hopefully it’ll spark a memory by someone that didn’t see it the first time around,” Carrillo said.

Pasadena police routinely work with some of the nation’s top law enforcement agencies every year during the holiday season as it protects the city during the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl game. The department also conducts disaster training at the Rose Bowl every year.

Today’s threat landscape has dramatically changed since Sept. 11, 2001. No longer primarily foreign terrorists, mass shootings now pose a real and present danger across the country.

“We have boots on the ground and police officers tactically trained to respond and engage in any type of violence,” said Pasadena Police Chief John Perez after the mass shooting in Gilroy in July. “We do our job, our profession, we do it the way we’re supposed to do it, with the care of the community in mind.”

But, Perez said the community needs to work with the department.

“They have to be well trained as well, to look around to see something that’s unusual at these special events, to make sure that we were made aware of it. As much as we’re prepared as a police department, we’re only as prepared as well as our community. We want them to be part of our solutions as well.”

 

Anyone with information about the Cheesecake Factory bombing is urged to contact the FBI at 800-225-5324, or the Pasadena Police Department at (626) 744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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