Feb 27, 4:48 PM EST
Student Claimed to Have Bomb, Anthrax*
By JIM SALTER
Associated Press Writer
ROLLA, Mo. (AP) -- A distraught graduate student claiming to have a bomb
and anthrax sparked a scare early Tuesday that shut down the University
of Missouri-Rolla for several hours, officials said.
Nearly two dozen people, including a faculty member and eight other
students, were quarantined after a white, powdery substance was found.
School officials said "possible bomb materials" were also found when the
man was taken into custody. Officials described him as a graduate
student who was apparently depressed and upset about his grades.
The incident started around 2:30 a.m. in a civil engineering building on
Acting Police Chief Mark Kearse said that when police arrived, the
student held up a bag and said: "This is a bomb." He was armed with a
knife and also claimed to have anthrax, Kearse said.
Police used a stun gun to subdue him. They also found a four-page note
in which the student threatened to destroy the building, Kearse said.
"If we had to make an assessment right now, our assessment is that this
is going to be a bogus or phony situation," said Acting Police Chief
Still, a Fort Leonard Wood Explosive Operations Division team was
investigating the possibility that a bomb could be in the building, and
members of the Missouri National Guard were called to campus. A National
Guard team took samples to determine if the substance was hazardous,
said Lt. Col. David Boyle of the 7th Civil Support Team.
Officials said no one who had been exposed to the substance had shown
"If it was anthrax they would have been displaying some symptoms," said
Ray Massey, ambulance director at Phelps County Regional Medical Center.
The identity and nationality of the student were not released, though
school spokesman Lance Feyh said he was an international student. The
man was decontaminated and taken to a hospital before being taken to a
holding facility at the Rolla Police Department, Kearse said.
Mayor William Jenks and Kearse said the student had been distraught over
his grades, which may have led to the incident. Jenks said the student
"had problems and was depressed."
The 5,850-student technological research and engineering school campus
in south-central Missouri was shut down during the incident and classes
were canceled for the day while officers investigated.
"We have no hard evidence that there's anything wrong in the building
but we simply can't take a chance," Jenks said. "We're taking a very
Those exposed to the powder included a faculty member in whose lab the
graduate student was found and eight students working nearby, said
campus spokeswoman Mary Helen Stoltz. The remaining people exposed to
the powder included emergency personnel who responded to the scene, she
said. It wasn't yet clear what the substance was.
Stoltz reiterated Kearse's belief that the student was "using the threat
of terror to get attention."
"We believe the situation is completely under control," she said. "For
now everybody's safe."
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