Neighbors on edge after box left at home explodes

HOUSTON Neighbors say the explosive was disguised as a box of chocolates. Eyewitness News first reported the incident Friday night.

Investigators say the woman received the package at her home off Seamist a couple weeks ago and opened it Friday night, which is when it exploded.

Police are still not releasing the woman's name, but she is in her 60s. A family member told Eyewitness News she had surgery on Saturday, but is stable. Meanwhile, her neighbors, who are understandably shaken, are praying for her recovery.

"Just heard a really, really loud boom," neighbor Courtney Turpin said.

Turpin lives two doors down from where the pipe bomb exploded in her neighbor's hands.

"It sounded like it was just outside of our walls," she said.

Around 6:30pm Friday night, a woman opened a package she'd received at her northwest Houston home weeks ago. The lady's friends say her face was instantly pelted with nails and tacks. Shrapnel blew so high, it landed on her rooftop.

"Our neighbor came out, and had blood on her, and she was walking out with her husband," Turpin said.

Neighbors who saw the package but didn't want to appear on camera describe it as a box of chocolates that was left inside a gift bag. One neighbor says there was a card attached that simply read, "Thank you." It included the woman's name, but it was misspelled.

"I can't believe that anybody would do anything as terrible and tragic to a person like this lady," neighbor Karen Gennity said.

Neighbors say the woman often performed random acts of kindness for her neighbors -- perhaps one reason she thought this box of chocolates was a thank you in return.

Now, as everyone is waiting to hear who did this and why, skepticism blossoms in a neighborhood where it once never existed.

"We've already instructed our children: Don't open anything that comes until we're home. And if it doesn't look like it's something normal, put it to the side," Gennity said.

"Before, I never would have thought anything about it," Turpin said. "Now, I think we'll be a little bit more cautious."

Sources say the power of the blast destroyed the couple's sturdy patio furniture. They say this was no "kid's bomb." It apparently included batteries and wires and was quite professional-looking.

Because this is considered an attempted murder, HPD homicide detectives are investigating. Officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also are probing the incident.

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