Bomb threat closes Southside High School|Investigators eventually determine bomb was fake, but evacuation, early dismissal ensure students' safety

Published 8:53 pm Saturday, May 16, 2009

By By Ted Strong
Staff writer

A fake bomb prompted an evacuation and early dismissal for students at Southside High School Friday afternoon.
A female student spotted wires in a garbage can shortly before noon and reported it to school officials, said Beaufort County Emergency Management Coordinator John Pack.
A school administrator went to investigate and saw wires and a battery in the trash can and a note on the floor, Pack said. Pack added that the note said “they (people near bomb) had six minutes to live, so they better start praying.”
The school was evacuated according to established procedures, said Beaufort County Schools spokeswoman Sarah Hodges.
A bomb squad from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point was called in. Its members used a robot to examine the contents of the trash can, Pack said. The bomb was removed and found to be fake, according to a statement from the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.
“It wasn’t a real bomb,” said Sheriff Alan Jordan. “That’s the good news.”
Officials also searched the grounds and all vehicles for any other possible bombs, Pack said. There was a brief worry about a duffel bag found on a school bus, but it proved to be innocuous, Pack said.
Students were dismissed from the school’s campus at 1:30 p.m., Hodges said. She said they were notified later in the afternoon that the building was open for them to return for their belongings.
Though the bomb wasn’t real, investigators from the sheriff’s office are looking into the matter, and hope to determine who created the hoax.
“It’s a dangerous thing, and it’s a very serious disruption to school activities,” Jordan said.
If you have information about this crime, call the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office at 946-7111 or Crime Stoppers at 974-6400. Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest.