FOX 25 Investigates: Declassified FBI records provide new insight into 2005 OU bombing

Newly declassified documents from the FBI provide insight into the bomb that exploded outside OU Memorial Stadium in 2005 and the motives of the student responsible for the bomb. (Phil Cross/KOKH)

It was a great night for football.

Inside Memorial Stadium at the University of Oklahoma more than 84,000 football fans were watching the Sooners take on the Kansas State Wildcats.

But outside, on that first night of October 2005, an explosion shook the walls.

Fans were kept inside the stadium while officers rushed to secure the scene and ensure there were no more explosives. On a bench located about 100 yards from the stadium was the body of Joel Henry Hinrichs III, the only victim of the bomb he built and brought on campus.

"We are apparently dealing with an individual suicide which is under full investigation at no time was anyone in the stadium in danger," said then Sgt. Gary Robinson of the OU Police Department. The Federal Bureau of Investigation was called in to make sure that was the case.

Inside Hinrichs' off-campus apartment, investigators found more high-explosives. The building was evacuated as the devices were removed. The FBI officially closed the case in 2006, and the narrative remained that it was the act of a lone individual with no intent to harm anyone else.

FOX 25 requested the FBI's files on Hinrichs in 2015, because the agency was under a rule which requires them to declassify "secret" information after a decade.

We received the information weeks ago, nearly a year after our initial request. In the letter accompany the documents; federal investigators cite a law that prevents them from confirming or denying if anyone is on a government watch list. The letter says the agency would not comment on whether or not Hinrichs was on any such list, even a decade after his death.

The agency did provide the 37 pages of what it says were 10,000 documents related to the case which were the "most responsive." FOX 25 is working to get the rest of the records.

Inside the case summary reports provided by the FBI are the final words typed by Hinrichs before he left for campus with his homemade bomb. In the middle of a text document agents report were the word "F**k all of this. None of you are worth living with. You can all kiss my a**."

The report notes Hinirichs had been a National Merit Scholar, but lost that status due to dropping grades. Agents point out that just before the game that night, there was a ceremony was held to honor the university's national merit scholars. Some witnesses said at the time Hinrichs had attempted to gain access to the stadium, but was turned away. The FBI says a review of security camera video was "negative" for Hinrichs. However the report does not indicate how extensive that camera system at Memorial Stadium was in 2005.

Agents investigating Hinrichs turned to the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit, or BAU. The profilers with the BAU said their review of the case indicated that Hinrichs may have meant to kill other people with his bomb. The BAU analysis included in the report made no mention of Hinrichs being the sole intended target of his bomb.

Many sections of the reports remain redacted. Some of the redacted elements include interviews with friends and associates about his and their religious and political beliefs.

Records show Hinrichs had been referred for counseling in 2003, but the report redacts details about what hinrichs may have been thinking or planning.

Ultimately while the evidence reported by the FBI indicates Hinrichs was potentially a threat to others, he was not part of any organized terrorist group.

FOX 25 requested an interview with OU President David Boren when we received the newly declassified documents. His office declined our requests. The day this story was scheduled for publication, his office sent out a revised statement which read:

"The university has not been made aware of any new developments in this case. After a full review of the incident it was concluded at the time that an emotionally disturbed young man tragically took his own life. There was no evidence that he ever intended to harm others."

However, the University never requested to review the FBI records obtained by FOX 25.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off