Lifestyle & Belief

California school evacuated due to bomb scare

A Southern California high school was evacuated on the first day of classes after U.S. Navy officials found a note from an AWOL Navy corpsman stationed at nearby Camp Pendleton indicating that he’d placed bombs at the school.

Around 1 p.m. local time, the Orange County Sheriff's Department said the U.S. sailor, Daniel Morgan, had been found and was in custody at Camp Pendelton, according to USA Today.

According to the San Clemente Times:

Officials at the base, just south of San Clemente, went to corpsman Daniel Morgan's barracks after he failed to report for duty. There, officials discovered a notebook that said he'd placed incendiary devices at the school, Orange County Sheriff's Sgt. Steve Doan said.

Authorities said they could not find a link between Morgan, 22, and the San Clemente High campus, but were concerned because he might have had access to explosives at Camp Pendleton.

"Many times you get crank calls on the first day of school but this is turned up a notch because this is somebody in the military," Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Amormino told the media, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Police evacuated San Clemente High’s 3,200 students and 180 staff members at 9 a.m., first sending them to wait at the school’s football stadium while the Orange County Sheriff's Department and campus officials searched the campus “room by room, inch by inch,” according to Amormino. Parents were requested to stay away while the school was on lock-down.

After bomb-sniffing dogs confirmed the gymnasium was clear of explosives, evacuees were moved there. Around 1 p.m., school officials began allowing students to leave campus, while the search for bombs continued.

The lock-down made the first day back at one of Orange County’s biggest public schools more tedious than usual, students told the Los Angeles Times. "We thought we were going to die from the heat, not a bomb,” senior Tab Lawley said.