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Author Of 'The Suspect' — Detailing 1996 Olympic Bombing — To Speak In St. Louis

Kevin Salwen is the author of 'The Suspect,' detailing the circumstances surrounding the bombing at the 1996 Olympics. | 2/25/20
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Eric Rudolph set and detonated a bomb in Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park during the 1996 Summer Olympics. But in the days after the bombing in late July, Richard Jewell, a security guard, was accused and at the center of an FBI investigation into the bombing.

Kevin Salwen is the co-author of a book about the bombing. Titled “The Suspect: An Olympic Bombing, the FBI, the Media, and Richard Jewell, the Man Caught in the Middle,” it was in part the inspiration for a controversial film about the bombing and the man who was falsely accused for it.

“On the night that the bomb goes off on July 27, Richard Jewell has spotted the bomb ahead of time,” Salwen told St. Louis on the Air host Sarah Fenske. “He is a security guard and sees this dark green pack under a dark green bench sitting on grass in the shadows at 1 a.m. and realizes that things shouldn’t be there. [He] helps to clear the area and helps call in law enforcement to get people out of the way.”

Salwen, a journalist for the Wall Street Journal in 1996, also discussed the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s questionable reporting of the incident. The AJC was the first news outlet to point the finger at Jewell. 

Salwen is speaking about the book Tuesday evening at Central Reform Congregation.

Related Event

What: Kevin Salwen Book Presentation
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020
Where: Central Reform Congregation (5020 Waterman Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108)

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Joshua Phelps. The engineer is Aaron Doerr, and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.

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Alex is the executive producer of "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.