Bob Ricks, Former Special Agent in Charge, Oklahoma City FBI

Bob Ricks, who today is chief of the police department in Edmund, Oklahoma, describes the early moments of the investigation into the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

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Initially it was categorized as a bombing. And I didn’t know the size of it as I was talking to my ASAC. One of the things he brought up is, “Bob, you know what today is?” At first I didn’t know what he was talking about. I said what do you mean? And he said today is April 19th, which was the last day of the standoff at Waco. Then that immediately set off an antenna that we had probably a reprisal that had taken place as a result of the Waco situation.

The first thing we were doing was literally setting up another FBI field office. From the basic infrastructure of getting telephones together, of trying to get together a records management system, of coordinating with the fire department to get our evidence response teams on the ground, to seal off the inner perimeter, to have an outer perimeter to have control of the press, as to how we were going to handle messaging. And so you really starting almost from the ground up building this infrastructure that was necessary to respond. At the same time integrating all of these different agencies local police, local fire, local sheriffs, federal agencies, all into this process and setting up a structure that hopefully would last

When I got through with the meeting with the chief of police and the chief of the fire department that they said it’s clear it’s a terrorist event and it’s the FBI has lead responsibility, we will be here, and give you whatever support you need and basically good luck. And then we all went back to doing what we were doing.

And I kind of stood there in front of that building by myself there for a while, and all I could do is think to myself was, Lord, this was overwhelming and where do you start and basically said a prayer that obviously I can’t make it right but hopefully we can find justice in this process.

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