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Cal State L.A. caller said bomb would explode in 2 hours, LAPD says

April 18, 2013|By Andrew Blankstein, Samantha Schaefer and Kate Mather
  • A sign attached to a law enforcement vehicle warns the public of a bomb threat at the Cal State L.A. campus.
A sign attached to a law enforcement vehicle warns the public of a bomb threat… (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles…)

A telephone warning that a bomb would go off in two hours prompted the evacuation and closure of the Cal State L.A. campus Thursday afternoon, Los Angeles police said.

LAPD Assistant Chief Michel Moore said school administrators, after learning of the threat sometime before noon, made the decision to evacuate the El Sereno campus and cancel classes as a precaution. The LAPD Bomb Squad was on the scene coordinating with campus police, Moore said.

No suspicious packages had been located and the campus had not received any previous threats, Moore said.

Television footage showed long lines of cars backed up as they tried to leave campus. 

Alhambra police had also stationed officers on Hellman Avenue, preventing people from crossing the 710 Freeway and entering campus, though Moore said the area remains open to local residents.  

Zach Seemayer, editor of the University Times student newspaper, said he and his colleagues thought the fire alarms ringing across campus were a drill and figured it was a good time for a lunch break. Once they got outside, they realized the roads leading into campus were being blocked by police.

Students on campus were told to leave, he said.

Seemayer said cellphone service was down when the evacuation began, but he got a signal about a half-mile from campus.

Seemayer said students typically don't take fire drills seriously. He and his colleagues initally planned on shutting the door and ignoring it, he said.

"I'm really glad we didn't end up doing that," he said.

Some on campus tweeted that students were rushing to leave.

“All students running to cars to leave immediately!!” Cesar Banderas tweeted.

A track meet was also canceled because of the bomb threat, according to several tweets.

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kate.mather@latimes.com

Twitter: @katemather

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