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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Tucson High evacuates 800 after bomb threat

Tim Glass / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Brian Seastone, UAPD commander of emergency management services, coordinates the evacuation of close to 800 Tucson High students to Bear Down Gym after a bomb threat was called into the school yesterday.
Tim Glass
Tim Glass / Arizona Daily Wildcat Brian Seastone, UAPD commander of emergency management services, coordinates the evacuation of close to 800 Tucson High students to Bear Down Gym after a bomb threat was called into the school yesterday.

About 800 Tucson High Magnet School students were evacuated to UA’s Bear Down Gym Tuesday morning due to a bomb threat. The section of Fourth Street located behind the gym was closed down for several hours so parents could pick their children up.

The school, located at 400 N. Second Ave., was evacuated just before 9 a.m., said Charles Rydzak, a Tucson Police Department spokesman.

“”We wanted to keep the disruption to a minimum,”” said University of Arizona Police Department’s Public Information Officer Sgt. Juan Alvarez. “”So Bear Down was identified as a location that could meet our needs.””

Alvarez said Bear Down was chosen because it provided easy access to Fourth Street from Sixth Street, allowing parents to pick their kids up easily.

A UAlert report was sent by text message and e-mail just before noon to let UA students know that Fourth Street would be closed between Cherry Avenue and Highland Avenue.

Portions of Sixth Street and Euclid Avenue near the UA campus were also temporarily shut down, but all roads remained open to the CatTran.

About 20 minutes later, UAlert said Bear Down Gym would be closed until about 4 p.m.

Victor Martinez, a campus liaison at Tucson High, said the school was evacuated after a student found a note in the restroom saying there was a bomb that would go off at 10 a.m. The student gave the note to a security guard.

Since there are more than 3,000 students at Tucson High, students were evacuated to several different locations. Students who walked to school or were picked up by their parents were evacuated to Bear Down Gym.

Students who rode the bus to school were bussed home, and students who drove to school were released after showing proper identification and the school received parental permission.

Tucson High parent Daniel Acosta, 36, thought it was a good idea to evacuate the students to the UA.

“”It’s close enough,”” he said.

Acosta, who works at Tucson Electric Power, was at work when he got a phone call from his wife about the bomb threat at their son’s school.

At first he didn’t have much information. His only concern was for his son, Tino Acosta, a freshman at Tucson High.

“”I was worried. I wondered, ‘Where do I pick him up?'”” Acosta said about hearing the news.

He said the situation was confusing but the University of Arizona Police Department, the Tucson Police Department, Tucson Unified School District and Tucson High School officials did a good job.

“”We do have an emergency preparedness manager, Commander Brian Seastone, and what he does is make sure that we have plans in place to meet certain situations like this,”” Alvarez said.

TUSD sent an e-mail to parents about the bomb threat, but not everyone got the message.

Daniel Acosta said he only heard about it because his wife saw it on the news.

“”The only thing they could’ve done is announce it better, not everyone is at home watching TV,”” he said.

UAlert sent another message at 1:46 p.m. saying Bear Down Gym and Fourth Street were reopened.

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