Things Most People Don't Know About Oklahoma City Bomber Timothy McVeigh

Domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh is known for his role in masterminding and executing the Oklahoma City bombing (OCB) on the morning of April 19, 1995. He planted the nearly 5,000-pound bomb inside of a truck, left it at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, and lit the fuse before fleeing. The domestic strike not only destroyed around one-third of the Murrah Federal Building, but it resulted in the deaths of 168 people, 19 of whom were children. More than 500 others were sustained harm. The OCB shocked the nation as the local community was left stunned and horrified. 

McVeigh was born on April 23, 1968, in Lockport, New York. He spent his entire childhood there, only leaving when he entered the military. He served as a soldier in the US Army until he was discharged in 1991, worked for a security company, and developed a bit of a gambling problem. McVeigh was executed by lethal injection on June 11, 2001. 

  • He Was Awarded A Bronze Star For His Service During The Persian Gulf War

    He Was Awarded A Bronze Star For His Service During The Persian Gulf War
    Photo: FBI Lab forensic artist / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    McVeigh spent some time in the Army, joining a few years after he finished high school. He saw combat in Iraq during the Persian Gulf War and was awarded both a Bronze Star and a Combat Infantry Badge. His proficiency on the field didn't go unnoticed, and he was asked to undergo some of the tests to become a member of the Army's elite forces, the Green Berets.

    He was accepted, but dropped out two days into special forces training because it was physically too demanding. 

  • He Never Apologized For Committing The OCB

    McVeigh never once apologized for his actions. He regarded the OCB as a failure because the building was left standing. Some say that he eventually showed some remorse towards the end of his life, for the 19 children dispatched in the act of terror.

    However, he was sad about the children because their passings were a "PR nightmare" that eclipsed his anti-government agenda. 

  • He Joined The NRA As A Teenager And Wanted To Own A Gun Shop

    After his parents got divorced and his mother moved to Florida with his two sisters, McVeigh remained behind with his father and routinely went to a shooting range with his grandfather. As a teenager, he joined the NRA and took one of their hunter safety courses.

    He was so enamored with armaments that he claimed to have wanted to own a gun shop some day. 

  • He Traveled The Gun Show Circuit While Loudly Sharing His Beliefs

    As McVeigh became even more disillusioned with the US government, he started living an itinerant lifestyle. He alternated between working at various security companies and following the gun show circuit, selling firearms. While there, he preached about the evils of government to just about anyone who would listen.

    He also spent quite a bit of time with his army buddies, Terry Nichols and Michael Fortier, both of whom were later implicated in the OCB as well. 

  • People Still Believe That McVeigh And Nichols Had Help  

    People Still Believe That McVeigh And Nichols Had Help  
    Photo: Getty Images/Gregory Smith

    Even though McVeigh swore that he worked alone, it is well known that his main accomplice, Terry Nichols, helped him plan the OCB. Nichols met McVeigh when they were in the army. Until the moment he passed, McVeigh claimed that no one helped him.

    However, many people still believe that he worked with an anti-government group. Neither McVeigh nor Nichols knew how to build a device out of fertilizer - at least not one that could take down part of a federal building. Apparently, eyewitnesses saw McVeigh with several other people the morning of the OCB and the men who rented the van used in the act of terror don't match the descriptions of Nichols and McVeigh. 

  • He Was Caught Because He Didn't Have License Plates On His Car

    McVeigh was the prime suspect after the device went off. He was speeding off in a getaway car when he was pulled over for not having license plates. While it makes sense for someone suspicious of the government to not pay licensing fees, or even to put plates on their car even if they did, it made McVeigh easy to find.

    Authorities quickly apprehended him and placed him in custody for his role in the tragedy.