Law enforcement, campuses work quickly to respond to bomb threats
Seven Mississippi school campuses received bomb threats on Thursday.
HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - There were some frightening moments Thursday morning bomb threats targeted multiple college campuses in South Mississippi. It was a repeat of what happened just one day earlier in Alabama.
And with all of those threats coming at the same time, law enforcement resources were stretched thin.
It didn’t take long for backup to get to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s Bryant Center.
“Around 9:33 this morning is when the call came to me,” said MGCCC police officer Kyle Craig. “When I came to the front office, Harrison County deputies were already here.”
At the same time, members of the Biloxi Police Department’s Bomb Squad were responding to William Carey University’s campus next door on Highway 67.
“It absolutely stretches resources thin,” Craig said. “Recognizing there’s not a ton of bomb-sniffing dogs, and not all dogs are trained in all fields. So, we were lucky to have a dog that got here very quickly.”
Craig said the call was dubious to begin with.
“It used a lab number for a lab we don’t have here, and it said it was under a piece of equipment that this specific facility doesn’t have either,” he said.
But every call is taken seriously. Emergency exercises are performed regularly on all MGCCC campuses.
“We complete drills, primarily fire and smoke drills, regularly at the Bryant Center and across the four-county district,” said Dr. Joan Hendrix, MGCCC’s Assistant Vice President. “And so, we were very prepared in identifying an urgent and immediate situations where we need to evacuate the building quickly.”
Thankfully, only 10 to 20 students who were taking a test had to be evacuated.
“We’re lucky there wasn’t many students,” Craig said. “But I feel even if there were a lot of students, the evacuation would have gone quickly because of how professionally it was handled.”
By the end of the day, several Mississippi campuses would receive similar bomb threats. The impacted schools include:
- Mississippi State University - Starkville Campus
- Alcorn State University - Natchez Campus
- Coahoma Community College
- Hinds Community College - Jackson Campus, Vicksburg Campus
- Holmes Community College - Attala County (Kosciusko Campus)
- Itawamba Community College - Tupelo
- Northeast Community College - Booneville Campus
- Northwest Community College - Hornlake, Southaven, Oxford Campus
- William Carey University (WCU) - Tradition Campus
- Meridian Community College
- Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College - Bryant Center at Tradition, Jackson County Campus, Perkinston Campus
- University of Southern Mississippi
The FBI is now in charge of the investigation.
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