Lehigh Valley

ATF on car explosion: Schmoyer set off bomb to kill self, son, friend

Allentown car explosion ruled murder-suicide

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - The deadly car explosion in Allentown was an intentional murder-suicide committed by Jacob Schmoyer, the ATF announced Thursday.

ATF Special Agent Don Robinson said Jacob Schmoyer used a homemade bomb to intentionally kill himself, as well as his 2-year-old son, "JJ," and his friend, 66-year-old David Hallman.

"This was an individual who intentionally set out to commit suicide and do it in the most violent and destructive way that he could conjure up," said Assistant U.S. Attorney John Gallagher.

Officials said they are confident it was an isolated incident and Schmoyer acted alone. They said he was not involved in any group.

WATCH: Full news conference on investigation into deadly Allentown car explosion

Robinson said a homemade device with two explosive materials caused the explosion, although it's not clear when Schmoyer constructed the bomb.

All three people were in the car at the time of the blast, and the device was near the front, middle console of the car, investigators said.

He said the time and place Schmoyer set off the bomb was intentional.

"We're very lucky there were no other victims," said Robinson.

Investigators said Hallman and Schmoyer were talking to each other within an hour of the explosion, but it's not clear why Hallman got in the car.

The ATF also said Allentown police and Schmoyer's family received letters from him Tuesday and Wednesday, dated Sept. 29, the day of the blast.

The letters clearly stated Schmoyer was intentionally going to kill himself, Hallman and Schmoyer's toddler son, the ATF said.

The letters also detailed specifics of what materials Schmoyer used to make the bomb.

Schmoyer said in the letters he was unhappy and miserable with his life, and did not want to keep living, Robinson said.

However the letters did not reveal why he killed his son or Hallman. Investigators would not comment on a motive for those murders.

Schmoyer's grandmother released this statement to 69 News after the news conference:

"Our family is deeply saddened by this event.  We are praying for all the victims and their families. We are now in mourning, please respect our privacy."

The ATF said the investigation is ongoing. Anyone who finds any materials from the explosion should immediately call police.


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