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Bombs Explode at Two Restaurants, Suspect Kills Self In Confusion

November 4, 1996

ASTORIA, Ore. (AP) _ A man suspected in bombings minutes apart at two packed coffee shops Sunday shot and killed himself in the confusion as panicked diners fled.

One person was treated for cuts caused by flying glass. Police dispatcher Dick Lang said both bombs were ``fairly small.″

The first bomb exploded at the Dutch Cup restaurant about 10:59 a.m., and the second went off three or four minutes later at the Pig N’Pancake restaurant a quarter mile away. Both restaurants were filled with brunch crowds that scrambled out when the bombs went off.

After the second explosion, a man in the restaurant pulled out a gun and shot himself, witnesses said.

Linda Nichols, a manager at the Pig N’Pancake, said a customer had just come in to tell them about the bombing at the Dutch Cup.

``All of the sudden there was a great big boom,″ she said. ``It sounded like a big firecracker. Debris started coming down from the ceiling.

``Right after that people heard a pop, pop, and apparently he shot himself,″ she said, adding that she saw the man fall in front of the cash register.

Police arriving at the Pig N’Pancake found the dead man. Police Chief Rob Deu Pree identified him as Michael McClain, 42, of Astoria, and said police thought he was the bomber.

McClain, who lived in the neighborhood, had been arrested last month for allegedly pointing a pistol at a neighbor, police said.

Police were interviewing witnesses at the scene Sunday night as the Oregon State Police bomb squad delicately probed the debris to determine if there were any other bombs. No additional bombs were found.

Astoria Fire Chief Lane Wintermute said the bomb at the Pig N’Pancake was made from commercial explosives used in construction and had a battery-operated detonator.

``Fortunately it all didn’t detonate,″ he said, declining to give more specifics about the amount of explosives.

Lang said police received no warning calls and no calls after afterward claiming responsibility or explaining any motive.

Earlier Sunday, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Gordon Smith had stopped in at the Pig N’Pancake as part of a 12-city campaign swing. He left for another appearance several hours before the blasts.

District Attorney Josh Marquis said he did not believe the explosions were directed at Smith, but Oregon State Police joined the candidate on his tour as a precaution.

``I hope it wasn’t directed at our campaign,″ Smith said. ``We were not notified of any threats to the campaign and sincerely hope there’s no connection.″

Astoria, a town of about 10,000, is about 100 miles northwest of Portland.

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