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Lawyer, feds appeal for tips in '11 car bombing

DETROIT (AP) — A lawyer who survived a car bombing with his two sons on their way to football practice appealed to the public Friday for more tips on the second anniversary of a stunning small-town attack likely carried out with off-the-shelf parts and a remote control.

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Erik Chappell pauses while appealing for tips in a 2011 car bombing in Monroe during a news conference at the office of the Alcohol Tobacco and Fire Arms on Friday Sept. 20, 2013 in Detroit. Chappell and his two sons were injured, and their Volvo was destroyed, when a pipe bomb attached to the bottom of the car was detonated. (AP Photo/Detroit Free Press, Andre J. Jackson)

Erik Chappell, 44, said the boys, now 15 and 13, are doing "great" and still playing football. He said they're extremely fortunate, especially when compared with victims of the Boston Marathon bombing last spring.

"Obviously there's people out there that know something," Chappell said at a news conference at the Detroit office of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

"Even if it's something that they consider to be more of a minuscule item or a small fact, we would just encourage you to please come forward," he said. "It's one thing to have somebody target me, but another to have it targeted to my kids."

Chappell and the boys were injured, and their Volvo was destroyed, when a pipe bomb attached to the bottom of the car was detonated as they traveled on a Monroe street, near the Michigan-Ohio border, in September 2011. Chappell's law practice includes family and business litigation in both states.

Authorities said the bomb was loaded with smokeless powder, ball bearings and small ammunition. An ATF explosives expert, Mike Eggleston, created a model and displayed it for reporters. It was a metal cylinder with metal caps on the ends, likely activated by a remote control commonly used with toy cars.

Eggleston believes the bomber who detonated the device was close enough to watch the explosion.

In 2011, Chappell told The Associated Press that he believed he knew the identity of the bomber. But he declined to talk about those suspicions Friday.

"I don't want to answer any questions that might impact" the investigation, Chappell said.

Daryl McCrary, in charge of the Detroit ATF division, said there are persons of interest in the case. Investigators hope someone who may have assisted the bomber without knowing the true reason for the explosive is willing to step forward two years later. There's a $20,000 reward for information that helps solve the case.

"These are very complex investigations, puzzles of sorts," McCrary said.

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Anyone with information can call ATF investigators at (734) 887-0060.

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Follow Ed White at twitter.com/edwhiteap

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