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Truck Driven into Law Firm Loaded with Explosives and Accelerants
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Truck Driven into Law Firm Loaded with Explosives and Accelerants

Summary: Alan Lanier, angry about how his girlfriend’s case was handled by her attorneys, decided to drive a truck laden with explosives into the law firm building to get back at the attorneys.

Friday, October 17, 2014, was a typical Friday for attorney Darlene Chambers. Her firm, located in Moyock, North Carolina, was wrapping up the end of a work week. A woman in the office noticed a man who was wearing a suit as he walked around the law office. Since it was a warm day during which few would bother with a heavy suit, the woman thought it may be an early Halloween prank. However, she quickly realized the severity of the situation once she noticed a gold Chevrolet truck in the parking lot next door with burning bales of hay in the truck bed.


According to, she called 911, and the truck slammed into the office, destroying two of the building’s five commercial office units. Fortunately, few employees remained at the office, as it was after closing.

Later, officers discovered that the truck was also loaded with an explosive that failed to detonate, 40 gallons of gasoline, and several propane tanks. The driver, Alan Boyd Lanier, was killed when he drove his truck into the law office. No one else was injured.

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Lanier, 56, previously dated a former client of both the Chambers firm and the Twiford firm, another law firm in the severely damaged building. His ex-girlfriend, Muslima Subkhangulova, had won a $3 million settlement from her ex-husband, Gary J. Dowdy, Sr.

Robert “Bobby” Lanier, Alan’s brother, said that he had gotten a package from Alan on Friday. The package apparently detailed grievances Alan felt, but it did not contain hints of any destructive plans. Lanier’s family sought help from law enforcement and attempted to locate him. He had mentioned that he may take a trip to Wilmington, North Carolina. “We had no idea where he was,” Bobby said.

Bobby Lanier admitted that his brother had a relationship with Subkhangulova. Apparently, Alan Lanier felt that Subkhangulova was not treated fairly throughout her case. In fact, he had filed complaints against the firms that represented her. Bobby said, “If he couldn’t expose the injustice in life, then he thought he could do it in death.”

Alan Lanier, who was unemployed, had seemed depressed lately, but did not appear to be a threat to others. According to his brother, he waited until the office was closed so that “only he would get hurt.”

Chambers, as well as attorney Ronald Baker, served as counsel for Subkhangulova in the drawn out case against Dowdy. Alan Lanier had served as Subkhangulova’s financial adviser, but he had lost neither money nor property in the case. Chambers said, “We’re baffled. We set out to do our job. We make a lot of people mad.”

Alan Lanier had been so combative in Chambers’ law office when he attended meetings with Subkhangulova that Chambers banned him. “He was argumentative. He was too disruptive,” she explained.

Chambers has not seen her former client for almost two years. Sheriff Susan Johnson revealed that Subkhangulova returned to the Ukraine, her home country, about two months ago.

It is believed that Lanier may have chosen the Twiford law office since it was an easier target—Chambers’ office is a block building that has walls that could withstand a truck driving into it.

John Morrison, an attorney at the Twiford Law Firm, also represented Subkhangulova in the case. Morrison continued to represent one of Subkhangulova’s daughters, who was a minor at the time of his representation. After many years of litigation, including appeals, Morrison won the case.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled against Dowdy in 2007. Dowdy was forced to forfeit property in the Outer Banks area to pay off the $3 million award. Subkhangulova and her two daughters arrived in the United States after she wed Dowdy in 2001. The pair separated in 2004, and Dowdy was sued for support. Subkhangulova accused Dowdy of “[maintaining] a practice of illicit sexual relations” with a female relative for two years. In fact, Dowdy was convicted in 2007 of taking indecent liberties with a minor.

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