LSU lifts evacuation order after bomb threat

Empty campus after the evacuation
Empty campus after the evacuation

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Classes resume Tuesday at LSU in Baton Rouge after a bomb threat Monday morning caused the campus to be evacuated.

Residents living on campus were allowed back into their dorm rooms just after 8 p.m. and the entire campus was given the all clear around 11 p.m. All 250 buildings on campus had to be checked first.

Officials said the bomb threat is an ongoing criminal investigation.

"The decision had to be made to clearly protect those for whom we are responsible - our faculty, our staff, our students and those visiting our campus," said Dr. William Jenkins, interim president.

The alert sent out by LSU stated everyone needed to evacuate the campus as calmly and quickly as possible. There are more than 35,000 people on campus daily.

The campus was evacuated around 11:30 a.m. after officials received a phone threat. Students that live in residence halls were left waiting for word it was safe to return.

Officials said they were left with no choice but to evacuate. Students said they understood the cautious approach.

"I see why they did what they did," said freshman Remington Jarell. "It's just, though, that everyone knew this would not be something real. There's a chance it is and for that one time they have to go through all the procedures and everything."

Authorities conferred with counterparts in Texas, North Dakota and Ohio, where similar threats were received Friday. However, officials added they are not sure if Monday's phone call was connected to the others.

Col. Mike Edmonson, superintendent of Louisiana State Police, said once the order was given all faculty and staff were cleared from the campus in less than an hour.

"The campus will not reopen until it's all clear," Edmonson explained during a news conference at 4:45 p.m.

He called the effort to evacuate students, faculty and visitors "pretty phenomenal."

Students were ordered to stay off campus until further notice. The text message sent out later by LSU officials stated, "LSU continues to investigate the bomb threat reported earlier today. Please stay off campus unless directed to return. Check for updates. LSUEOC."

The buildings were opened up one-by-one after they were checked and cleared. However, the campus did not reopen until all buildings were checked and cleared.

Herb Vincent, vice chancellor of university affairs, said the bomb threat was called into the East Baton Rouge Parish 911 call center. It was then transferred to the LSU Police Department. Jenkins then made the decision to evacuate the campus.

The university made no comment when asked if it was a credible threat or if a device was found. No specific location has been given for where the call originated or what area was threatened.

The East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office, Baton Rouge Police Department, FBI, ATF, Louisiana State Police, along with the LSU Police Department, were all involved in the investigation of the bomb threat.

The evacuation alert was sent at 11:32 a.m. According to LSU officials, the bomb threat was called in at 10:30 a.m.

Last week, both the University of Texas in Austin and North Dakota State University in Fargo received bomb threats on Friday, Sept. 14. The threats prompted both campuses to be evacuated, but no explosives were found.

Anyone with information is being asked to contact LSU Police at 225-578-3231.

WAFB normally does not report bomb threats, as to not encourage people to call them in and to not cause unnecessary panic. Because of the impact it had around Baton Rouge, the news organization felt it should be reported.

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