ATF explosive school equips agents with rare skillset to catch bombers

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - In the wake of the Austin bombings and the blown up suspect, you may wonder how investigators focus on the methods used in a bombing, and who might be a possible suspect.

To find out, several years ago Cleveland 19 traveled to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to document a training session for agents.

The training begins in the classroom, but quickly moves to the field, where different kinds of explosives have been placed in three cars.

The bombs are set off, and then after being divided into three groups, the agents begin their work.

They've been trained to approach the vehicles cautiously.

Once there they map the location where every piece of debris was found.

The debris is marked, photographed and later collected.

What they found was interesting.

Quickly they believe it was a fragmentation device.

Picking up a piece of debris one agent commented "This is interesting, this is very intact. It's a battery."

Another said "A piece of pipe bomb, possible pipe bomb."

Using the information they collected it was back to the classroom only a day later, and the team had a drawing that closely matched the pipe bomb that was used to blow up their vehicle.

The same techniques are used today, but additionally, DNA and social media posts have been added to the investigators' toolkit.

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