Monday, July 15, 2024

OKC Bomb Anniversary: First Responder Recalls Seeing Suspect Who Remains At Large

'My gut feeling says John Doe 2 is real, he was there, and for some reason or another, they’re saying he wasn’t...'

(Ken Silva, Headline USAOklahoma City police officer Steve Vassar was leaving the scene of a stabbing the morning of April 19, 1995, when he saw a Ryder truck with two occupants driving past him towards the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

Minutes later, Vassar felt an explosion that would change his and countless other lives forever. The Oklahoma City bombing killed 168 people, including 19 children, making it the deadliest domestic terrorism attack in American history.

Vassar kept quiet about what he saw that morning for more than 25 years, but recently broke his silence for a CNN investigation into the bombing—telling the outlet that “as God is my witness, there were two people” in the Ryder truck that exploded minutes later.

The significance of this statement is that it undermined the U.S. government’s claim that bomber Timothy McVeigh was alone when he positioned and detonated the truck bomb.

With the two other accomplices who helped assemble the bomb out of the state that morning, McVeigh being seen with another person on April 19 implies that someone involved in the attack remains at large—possibly a federal informant or undercover agent, according to numerous researchers of the subject.

On Tuesday, Vassar participated in his first broadcast interview about this subject on the No Way Jose! show. Headline USA participated in the interview, questioning Vassar more about what he saw that fateful day.

“I watched them drive by. I saw the driver, I saw a passenger,” Vassar said of his sighting the man who became to be known only as “John Doe 2.”

“But because it was inside the cab, I couldn’t make out a face or anything.”

Vassar is far from the only person to see McVeigh with an unidentified accomplice.

According to former FBI official Danny Coulson, who investigated the case, at least 24 witnesses saw John Doe 2 the morning of April 19. These witnesses were used to positively identify McVeigh and make a composite sketch of John Doe 2, but they were never called to testify during McVeigh’s trial.

The FBI initially launched a massive manhunt for John Doe 2—at one point baselessly accusing accomplice Terry Nichols’s son as being the culprit—but later said the mystery accomplice never existed.

But federal records also reference John Doe 2, including a Secret Service document that says “suspects” were seen on surveillance footage exiting the Ryder truck. This surveillance footage is the subject of a decades-long FOIA lawsuit that’s still ongoing.

Moreover, the sitting U.S. attorney general, Merrick Garland, directly received evidence about John Doe 2 when he helped prosecute McVeigh. During the preliminary hearing, an FBI agent testified in front of Garland that witnesses saw “two” suspects in the Ryder truck.

“The only person on trial at this hearing is Mr. McVeigh. It doesn’t matter whether there were two or 100 people in that truck,” Garland said in response to this revelation, according to the court transcript from the hearing.

All this and more lends Vassar to believe that the Oklahoma City bombing may have been a botched sting operation, he said.

“Everything that I know about police work and investigations, is my gut feeling says John Doe 2 is real, he was there, and for some reason or another, they’re saying he wasn’t. And in my personal opinion, I would say the reason for that is this was possibly a sting operation that went bad,” he said.

“I haven’t done the undercover side myself, but as a patrol officer and an investigator, I’ve worked closely with the undercover units. And I’ve seen sting operations go bad.”

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.

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