1. Archive

With increased security, "Atlantans bounce back'

There are so many leaping athletes floating around that Atlanta feels like a virtual reality Nike ad. The hungry eyes of sprinter Gwen Torrence bead down from a giant sign on Peachtree Street with the words, "I'm not just glad to be here."

But to the 8.5-million people who bought tickets to Olympic events, just being here is good enough.

The heightened security after Saturday's bomb explosion remained in place Monday, but many spectators left purses and knapsacks at home to avoid the inconvenience of searches.

There was little development in the investigation of the explosion in the Centennial Olympic Park that left two dead and smudged the colorful Olympic celebration.

On Monday, the FBI released a transcript of the 911 call made from a pay phone two blocks from the park. The caller, who authorities think is a white man, said:

"There is a bomb in Centennial Park. You have 30 minutes."

Eighteen minutes later, the pipe bomb exploded.

The Associated Press reported Monday that there apparently was a lag between the time of the 911 call and the next notation of any action. Atlanta police have reported the time as 1:07 a.m. The report put the call at 12:58. Police Chief Beverly Harvard denied that action was delayed.

FBI Special Agent David Tubbs said Monday that composite sketches were drawn of people who were seen in the area at the time of the explosion, but the FBI is not ready to release them.

"If and when we are ready to label them a suspect, then we'll put the composites out," Tubbs said.

Since the blast, Olympic security officials have sent investigators to check almost 50 suspicious packages. No bombs were found.

Of the 111 people injured in the explosion, 17 remain hospitalized.

Centennial Olympic Park, which has been closed since Saturday, will reopen at 8 a.m. today. A memorial service of prayer and remembrance will be led by former civil-rights leader Andrew Young at 10 a.m.

New signs will be posted alerting visitors that all bags and knapsacks are subject to searches. The size of the security force will be doubled, and additional monitoring equipment has been installed.

On a day of glorious sunshine Monday, when aromatic clouds from a pit barbecue drifted across the field hockey venues, terrorism was remote in the minds of most.

"Atlantans bounce back," said Malinda Shepherd, attending Olympic events with her husband. "I know you've heard it before, but it's true: We are the city too busy to hate."

It's not the city too busy to make a buck. Ticket sales on the street were at a peak, especially for track-and-field events.

"I'm a scalper, ma'am, I'm not tryin' to beat you outta nothin',

" one teenager told a woman, who held her cash carefully as she tried to decide.

Downtown, a crowd watched a street band play a soulful version of Me and Mrs. Jones. A rentable Scarlet O'Hara took a cigarette break and used her cell phone. The line at lunch time snaked around the outside of Planet Hollywood, where Demi Moore threw a party for the USA women's gymnastics team.

Amid the jubilation, there were some who sought meditation away from the crowds to think about the weekend tragedy. Many downtown churches are holding daily worship.

Basketball players Ruthie Bolton and David Robinson attended early Sunday services at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Decatur. In response to the bomb, the Rev. C.

M. Alexander of the Antioch Baptist Church organized a 24-hour prayer that ended Monday night.

Fallon Stubbs, the 14-year-old whose mother was killed in the blast, had several visitors at Georgia Baptist Hospital on Monday, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Young and Matt Ghaffari, the U.S. wrestler who won a silver medal.

Her mother, Alice Hawthorne, was a part owner of a cafe in Albany, Ga. She came in almost every day, ate her favorite grilled chicken salad and was never short on smiles. "It's just so hard to believe she's gone," said her business partner, Curtis Kennedy. "I just feel sore."

Over the weekend, thieves broke into the Hawthorne family home and stole a TV and VCR while relatives were visiting Stubbs in the hospital.

Hawthorne's funeral is scheduled for Friday in Albany, 180 miles south of Atlanta.

When Centennial Olympic Park reopens to thousands today, the House of Blues will sell a special edition T-shirt. On the front, it says, "Had to . . . ," and on the back, "go back to the Park."

_ Information from Times staff writer Bruce Lowitt and Times wires was used in this report.