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Police investigate bomb threat at west Columbia daycare center

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

A bomb threat closed a west Columbia street and led to an evacuation of a daycare center just after noon on Tuesday.

Christian Tabak, public information specialist with Columbia police, reported that police got an initial call about a bomb threat at 12:20 p.m. at the KinderCare daycare center on the 2400 block of Ash Street.

Police evacuated the daycare and took the children and teachers to Broadway Christian Church.

A bomb squad and a bomb-sniffing dog from the University of Missouri Police Department were called in to help, Tabac said.

Tabak says the building was cleared and children were brought back into the daycare just before 2 p.m. Some parents chose to pick up their students while others

At least a half-dozen police cruisers were at the scene.

Police reopened Ash Street at about 1:30 p.m.

"I'm glad they did that. So that makes me feel a whole lot better that they didn't waste their time, and got right on top of it. So, I'm just hoping that it doesn't happen to them anymore," said Keith Hill, who has two kids that attend the daycare.

Hill says he is pleased with the way both the school and the first responders handled the situation.

The fire department told ABC 17 that they originally responded to a fire alarm, but were unable to answer why or how this turned into a bomb threat.

Police say the investigation is ongoing into the threat and there no danger to the community at this time.

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.

Karl Wehmhoener

Comments

1 Comment

  1. With bomb threats the first responders do not like to talk too much on the radio. This incident was a lot different than the fake grenade on Broadway the other day. From the police and fire scanner:

    Police Dispatch to Sergeant: “You have a very sensitive nature (code words for bomb threat) call. If you take a look (at the notes on your mobile computer terminal – MCT) please. We are also calling the Fire Chief.”

    Sergeant: “Copy. I will be enroute. Send me a couple more.” Officers from the north side of town are also dispatched.

    Fire Dispatch: alert tones, computer voice: “Ladder 2, fire alarm, 2416 West Ash, KinderCare…” Since dispatch does not want to send unsuspecting fire men into a bomb threat, they call Ladder 2 on the radio and say: “Ladder 2 can you call Communications (on your cell phone)?”

    Police Channel 2 is restricted. The Sergeant tells Dispatch: “I sent some questions up by MCT. Let me know the answers on the radio and in notes please when you have it.”

    Officers discuss their plans as they are driving to the scene. Officer asks Sergeant: “Do you want us to stage or start evacuating?” Sergeant says to wait because he is trying to find out how many people are in the facility.

    Police Lieutenant radios Sergeant: “Hey, if we get a couple officers up there, let’s start getting people out.”

    12:30 pm the first officer arrives and the Sergeant tells him: “(Bomb response details withheld) Let’s start filing people out, no bags, no picking up anything, just clothes on their backs.”

    A police command post is set up a short distance away. Officers start escorting people out of the facility.

    12:34 pm A Fire Chief responds to the scene.

    12:35 pm Sergeant tells officers to take a head count to make sure they have everyone.

    Officer reports: “Right now we have the majority of them (people from the day care – excited young voices in the background) headed west over by where fire is staged.” They go across the street to the Broadway Christian Church property and hang out under the trees in the shade.

    Traffic is shut down on adjacent streets and the insurance agency across the street is evacuated. Head count reveals two daycare staff are missing. Officer reports: “We are missing two teachers they believe they are on break and are calling them now (children singing Row, Row, Row Your Boat heard in the background).”

    Sergeant confirms the missing staff have been accounted for, they are, and tells officer: “Get them into that church if you can to get them out of the heat.”

    Bomb squad officer reports: “MUPD is arriving with a K unit (police dog). They also say Capitol (police) is on their way with one as well.” That would be Burbon the bomb dog.

    Officers call Dispatch asking for a key holder from Broadway Christian Church to let them in. Moments later police make contact with someone at the church to open the door.

    12:56 pm, “The school is pushing all the requested info to parents now.” Stand by for parents to arrive at the scene.

    The police Lieutenant authorizes Dispatch to “ping” the cell phone of the suspect to see where he is located. Always carry your personal tracking device with you at all times so the government knows where you are.

    Officer reports the kids and staff are secure inside the church building and “I have established perimeter security here.” Sergeant tells him to “maintain that until further notice.” Then the Sergeant says: “I do not want any students or staff leaving for the time being, that is short term just relay to them. We are going to keep everyone planted at least until we get this cleared.” I am sure the parents will love to hear that.

    The media is showing up and the Lieutenant calls Dispatch to say “media staging will be on the west end of the permitter, on Ash Street near Fairview.”

    1:17 pm, Officer to command post: “I got parents showing up trying to take their kids. Can we release?” Sergeant tells the officer to call him first. Twenty-one minutes from the parent notification to the first arrivals. I am surprised it took that long.

    Dispatch to Sergeant: “We have got some parents now starting to call (911). They are wanting contact.”

    Sergeant replies: “Copy. They can be directed to the church near our location where they have evacuated the children to. I have units on scene to facilitate pick up.” Good idea. The cops would probably rather face a mad bomber than a bunch of upset Moms.

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