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Salem police are investigating an explosion inside a news box for the Rainbow Times, the region’s largest LGBT newspaper, as a possible hate crime.

Seven people can be seen on video, placing the device inside the box in Salem Square around 1:19 a.m. Tuesday.

The blast lit up the street, and smoke filled downtown Salem. That early morning explosion could be heard a mile away.

“At first it was very shocking to me. I literally gasped and covered my mouth,” Rainbow Times Editor in Chief Nicole Lashomb said.

The newspaper is published out of Boston, but “the owners live in Salem,” Lashomb added.

Shocked locals said Salem is a gay-friendly community, and the newspaper isn’t backing down.

“I am sad and upset about this incident, which based on the video surveillance footage appears to be targeting the Rainbow Times, an LGBT friendly news outlet,” Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll said.

“We are a community that supports each other as neighbors and, even in the face of violence and hatred, today should be no different,” Driscoll said. “Fear and hate may cloud the hearts of those committing this act, but it will never, ever characterize this community. Salem is the City of Peace.”


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