New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez went to the town of Las Cruces on Sunday night after two explosions rocked two churches there. She vowed to catch the "coward" behind both bombings.
According to Sarah Kaplan of the Washington Post, the blasts happened at Calvary Baptist Church and the Holy Cross Catholic Church about 20 minutes apart. The FBI, ATF and Department of Homeland Security are investigating the incident alongside state and local authorities.
"Only a coward would place an explosive device in a place of peace and a place of worship," Martinez said at a press conference on Sunday night. "If your intention was to bring fear to those who worship, you have failed. Our faith is too strong and our fellowship is unbreakable."
Las Cruces Police Department spokesman Dan Trujillo told the Washington Post that while he remains aware of "the totality of the day's events," the incidents are being investigated separately.
"It's unlikely for us to have two incidents like this on the same day 20 minutes apart and have them not be connected," Trujillo said.
Monsignor John Anderson described the impact of the blast at Holy Cross Catholic Church to Walter Rubel of Las Cruces Sun-News as he was conducting the communion ceremony.
"I was right in the middle of saying the words 'take and eat, this is my body' and there was a 'Pow!' I mean, I knew it had to be more than a gunshot," Anderson said. "It didn't know if it was a shotgun blast, I didn't know what. But it was very loud and I just kept on saying the words."
Anderson contended that had the explosion happened 10 minutes later, the impact would have been much worse.
"I'm just thankful to God nobody was standing by the door, because there's usually always somebody standing there. But because it was the consecration part of the Mass, everybody was kneeling down and facing toward the altar," Anderson said. "Ten minutes later we would have been leaving and standing around that space."
Dennis Llewellyn, a member of Calvary Baptist Church, told Rubel that he recognized bomb parts that included a battery. He described himself has a former Special Forces member with the Marines.
"It was a real bomb, I saw all the parts," Llewellyn said.
Llewellyn added that about 30 people were inside the building when the explosion occurred, shaking the structure.
Martinez resolved to catch the person responsible for the bombings.
"Whoever did this will feel the full pressure of the law," Martinez said.