December 17, 2008 in City

3,000 students evacuated from schools after bomb threat

Associated Press
 

VANCOUVER, Wash. – Several suspicious items noticed after a written bomb threat was found Tuesday in a high school restroom prompted the evacuation of about 3,000 students from three schools on the same campus, officials said.

There were no explosions or injuries reported.

Authorities determined that two of the devices were not explosives. A bomb squad used a water cannon to destroy a third suspicious object – a backpack found in an open area on the campus, Vancouver police spokeswoman Kim Kapp said.

Evergreen School District spokeswoman Carol Fenstermacher said about 1,800 students at Evergreen High School were evacuated to the school’s stadium in freezing weather before being sent home on buses. Two nearby schools, Legacy alternative high school with 200 students and Cascade Middle School with 900, were sent home after a lockdown that lasted a few hours.

Kapp said authorities don’t know what was in the backpack.

“They had the ability to safely destroy it,” she said. “They did that rather than determine what it was.”

Two other suspicious devices – one found in a garbage can in the high school, and another on school grounds – were later determined not to be explosives, Kapp said. She did not release details about what they looked like.

Police are trying to determine who was responsible for the threat.

Kapp said a school resources officer, a Vancouver police officer assigned to Evergreen High, found a note in a restroom at midmorning, indicating a bomb threat. The officer began a search of the area and found a suspicious item in a garbage can at the school.

A second device was discovered elsewhere on the school grounds, Kapp said. The backpack was located as the students were being evacuated.

After students and staff left the campus, the bomb team did a sweep of the school looking for evidence, she said.

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