‘You’re not expecting to see it’: Madison native finds DC pipe bomb, thwarts attack on RNC

WASHINGTON – Madison native Karlin Younger said she’s still processing the moment she discovered a pipe bomb behind her Washington D.C. apartment last Wednesday.

Younger, who grew up in the Bay Creek subdivision in Madison before attending Madison West High School and University of Wisconsin, moved to the nation’s capitol several year’s ago to work for the Department of Commerce.

On Wednesday, Jan 6, she figured she’d try and finish a quick load of laundry during a lunch break.

“When I went downstairs to put the first load into the dryer, that’s when something caught my eye,” she said.

Next to a garbage can in a back alley behind her apartment – a pipe bomb.

“The first thing I saw was wires, and the next thing I saw was six inches of pipe capped on both ends,” she said. “I leaned a little bit closer, that’s when I see this dial. It has a hand on :20… So I leaned it once, took a look at it, I think ‘Nah, this is a hoax. This can’t be what I think it is.’ Then I see the number, and I lean closer and I lean to listen and I’m thinking ‘Is that 20 seconds? Is it ticking?’ No, it’s not ticking. That’s good…I’m holding a wet sweater and I’m thinking ‘What do I do?'”

That’s when she said she remembered an old movie with a piece of advice.

“It was actually a scene from Terminator that came to mind where one character tells another character not to disturb the pipe, so I’m thinking, ‘Ok, I can’t move it, but what if someone else finds it?’ And That’s when when the adrenaline hit. I had to tell someone.”

Younger, who lives adjacent to the RNC in Washington D.C., said she immediately drew the attention of a nearby guard. Within minutes, police K-9’s were surrounding the building.

She said in the hours that followed, she began to realize the bomb’s placement could be in connection to the attack on the United States Capitol.

“I think that initial surge of adrenaline and fear was about five seconds after that I put together this could be real,” she said. “Then the adrenaline spikes and I’m running down the alley trying to find someone. That next hour as things kept ratcheting up, I couldn’t think that there might be some connection here. There has to be. The timing was too coincidental.”

Tonight, Younger is back in her apartment. While she’s still processing the events of the day she discovered the bomb, she says ultimately, she’s glad nobody was hurt.

“The thing I keep coming back to is how lucky I was,” she said. “So many factors conspired, it was really just luck. It’s become a lot of gratitude, right? That I saw it when I did. That nobody else, like a child that plays in the alley, found it, or a sanitation worker who was doing their job and it went off at the wrong time, I’m just so grateful that nobody got hurt. That’s what I keep coming back to.” Read more from Madison Magazine here.