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Cal State L.A. campus cleared after bomb threat, LAPD says

April 18, 2013|By Andrew Blankstein and Kate Mather
  • A California Highway Patrol officer watches students and teachers file across North Eastern Avenue at the entrance to Cal State L.A. after university officials evacuated the campus.
A California Highway Patrol officer watches students and teachers file… (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles…)

Los Angeles police cleared Cal State L.A. on Thursday afternoon after a bomb threat forced the evacuation and closure of the campus.

The campus was cleared about 2:30 p.m., police said. However, it remained closed off more than an hour later, and a university tweet said classes were canceled for the remainder of the day.

About 4 p.m., a bomb squad was examining a backpack left behind at a McDonald's at Eastern Avenue and Ramona Boulevard, near the main university entrance. An employee said a man who was acting suspiciously left the bag behind, prompting the staff to call police.

LAPD Assistant Chief Michel Moore said school administrators, after learning of the threat sometime before noon, made the decision to evacuate the campus and cancel classes as a precaution. The caller said a bomb would explode in two hours, Moore said.

Students were cleared from dorms and classrooms, and television footage showed a long line of cars attempting to leave the parking lot. Many described confusion when the campus alarms went off and said they initially thought it was a drill.

Many students said they did not receive notifications from the school's emergency alert system. The university posted information on its Twitter and Facebook pages announcing the evacuation.

Jonny Barrios tweeted his frustration.

“I am still waiting to receive either a text message or an email!!! And this happened about 1 hour and 30 mins ago," he wrote on his account, @yankgrana.

“It’s bad," Barrios told The Times. "If someone wasn’t able to check Twitter, they would show up to campus and not know what’s going on. You’re out of the loop.”

A faculty member who asked not to be identified said there was “shock and confusion."

“We all left feeling a little in the dark," he said.

“No one was hurt, but you do see this as a kind of trial run when you hope that there would be someone with a yellow jack saying ‘You need to go home,’” he said. “We were hungry for some official notification, and it wasn’t forthcoming.”

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Twitter: @katemather | Google+

kate.mather@latimes.com

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