March 18, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A homemade “bomb” akin to a Molotov cocktail was thrown at an elderly pro-life activist during a 40 Days for Life prayer vigil yesterday, March 17. The attack took place at around 6:15 p.m., near the All Family Health Care abortion center in Kalispell, Montana, according to the Thomas More Society (TMS)

According to Karen Trierweiler, coordinator of the 40 Days prayer vigils in Kalispell, the device was thrown at one of the vigil participants, an elderly retired woman, by an unidentified assailant as she walked on the public sidewalk near the abortion facility.

The victim did not see the thrower, nor did she see the device before it exploded on the sidewalk behind her, making a loud popping noise as it burst into flame. The victim was unhurt.

The victim then called Trierweiler to the scene, who called the police.

Though perhaps the most dangerous event in memory, Trierweiler said that projectiles were not uncommon: last year elderly participants were struck by water balloons; at other times, critics hurled baby dolls smeared with fake blood.

According to the TMS, which has filed a complaint with the FBI about the incident, a Kalispell police officer arrived only after a lengthy delay. The Society reports the police officer told the 40 Days prayer vigil participants that they should expect this kind of reaction if they’re out protesting.

“We are appalled by this terrible act of violence, while we’re immensely grateful that God’s grace spared this valiant pro-lifer any serious injury,” said Thomas Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society.

Brejcha, however, took issue with the handling of the affair by the Kalispell police officer, calling his reaction “equally appalling, indeed outrageous.” Brejcha said they would be filing a disciplinary complaint against the officer and a desk sergeant who was also unhelpful. 

Trierweiler told LifeSiteNews.com that she was “disturbed” at the flippancy of police. “I was just disturbed that it seemed like no big deal to them and this was something we should expect.”

She pointed out that the pro-lifers were “in an area more in turmoil than others,” noting two recent gay pride parades. “Our city police are used to dealing with controversial situations, so I think that’s probably why we’re surprised we didn’t get a little better response,” she said. “They provided protection and support for other activities.”

“We expect much better from the FBI,” said Brejcha, “and we will pursue the matter to the very highest levels of the U.S. Department of Justice if this case is not investigated promptly and vigorously and - once the assailant is identified and apprehended - prosecuted to the hilt.”

Trierweiler also reported that an eyewitness has stepped forward, who was not part of the 40 Days campaign, but rather a passerby, who saw the incident occur and who may be able to help the FBI track down the bomb thrower.