Firebomb victim joins community rally

August 4, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The fire bombings targeting some U.C. Santa Cruz researchers have put the entire community on edge. Hundreds of people went to a rally on campus Monday, including a researcher injured in this weekend's attacks.

There was a very vocal, very clear act of non-violence, at the entrance of U.C. Santa Cruz. Hundreds gathered to condemn the violent attacks on two UCSC medical researchers this past weekend. Someone firebombed a family car and four minutes later, another firebomb was thrown onto David Feldheim's front porch.

The researcher came to Monday night's rally on crutches. Feldheim was hurt while escaping out a second story window with his wife and children.

"Our family is safe and healthy and we'll be able to move on from this," said Feldheim, a firebomb victim.

Feldheim uses mice in his brain development research.

The FBI thinks animal rights activists are behind the attacks. They've classified the bombings as acts of domestic terrorism. While agents scour the campus, researchers are taking their own precautions.

"I am going to be more cautious, looking around the lab, making sure there's no suspicious activity around the building of course," said Jennifer Kabat, a molecular biologist.

"I think any researcher is frightened because it could happen to anybody, I mean what if they'd gotten the wrong number, it could've been my house!" said Paula Goldman, a victim's neighbor.

Goldman lives next door to David Feldheim. She worries about everyone on campus, especially those named in a booklet found at a café last week.

An animal rights extremist group left the pamphlet at a Santa Cruz café, just 48 hours before the fire bombings. Inside, they'd printed the names, addresses, and phone numbers of UCSC researchers, as sort of a hit list. Feldheim was one of the researchers on the list.

"There's no rationale, there's no moral suasion, there's just violence," said a protestor.

Meantime, area animal rights activists are not condemning the violence, but they are saying there isn't enough proof linking them to the crimes.

"I'm only saying it's premature to assume that this is the work of activists, I mean there's been no claim of responsibility at this point," said Peter Young, animal rights activist from Voice of the Voiceless.org

"Maybe this individual wasn't involved, I don't know, but that doesn't mean this has nothing to do with animals. I don't believe it," said UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal.

There is a $30,000 reward that's being offered. Investigators say they have several good leads they're following.


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