Trent Pierce, a family practice doctor whose patients include some of his neighbors and the local police chief, was airlifted to The Med and was listed in critical condition. He is the chairman of the Arkansas State Medical Board.
West Memphis Police Chief Robert Paudert told reporters the explosion was definitely a bomb and not a battery or something that is part of the doctor's white Lexus hybrid vehicle. Paudert said that determination was made by investigators from the Bureau of Alchohol Tobacco and Firearms who responded to the scene.
Someone did put some kind of explosive device in his car," Paudert said. He later qualified that to "on or near the car." He said the explosion was heard as far as a mile away, and added that Pierce may have been inside or next to the car. No one else was injured.
The specifics of the bomb were not described, but a photo of the car showed the front bumper still partially attached and the front headlights intact.
A neighbor, Hollis Gibbs, described the explosion at around 8 a.m. as sounding like a transformer blowing out. He lives about 200 yards from Pierce's house.
Paudert said authorities do not know why someone would bomb Pierce or his car. He said the doctor, who is his personal physician, is well liked and is not involved as a witness in any controversial legal cases or abortion issues.
We don't know if this is random or if he was specifically targeted," Paudert said.
Pierce's house is in an affluent street in West Memphis across from the home of former mayor Keith Ingram.