Timeline of Events: SIU Bomb Threat
Written by Your 5News Team
Last updated on March 20, 2013 @ 11:27AM
Created on March 19, 2013 @ 9:29PM
It was around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday morning that 33 year-old Joshua John Richards supposedly walked into a classroom at Salem International University and said something to students and the teacher inside that indicated he had a bomb.
He then walked out, and that's when authorities were notified, and students and staff were evacuated from three campus buildings.
"I was in class, and one of my friends got a text that said somebody had a bomb at the school, so we told our teacher what happened. When we were leaving, there were a bunch of people outside and the cops were showing up," said Kendrick Tate, an SIU student.
A short time later, law enforcement took Richards into custody. After that, they found a black box in his car tht resembled a bomb, but later determined there were no explosives inside, and that it was just a hoax device.
Officers also searched the surrounding area with the help of bomb dogs to make sure the area was safe before students and staff returned to the buildings.
"It was a credible bomb threat. He had a device, looked real. It would have scared me. It was not, I repeat, not an explosive device. It was a fake," said Dr. Eric Kirkland, executive vice president at SIU.
Around 2:00 p.m. police cleared the scene, but they said the investigation isn't over, and they take all threats seriously.
"Any of these investigations, we've got to take them serious, and that's why you see the response you do," said Captain James Merrill, 1st District Commander of the WVSP.
While law enforcement continued their investigation Tuesday afternoon, students and staff were returning to their normal schedules.
Classes were canceled through the afternoon, but evening classes resumed as normal.
"I'm happy it's come to the conclusion it has, and I'm honestly very sad for the student that made the bomb threat. It's a life changing threat. A serious threat like that is not taken lightly by the university, and I expect the authorities won't take it lightly either," said Dr. Kirkland.
Richards is free on a $5,000 bond.