Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 5
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Sparkler Bomb Identified Behind Bratton, Area All Clear

Monday evening, Feb. 25, a sparkler bomb was found on campus in the alleyway between Bratton Tennis Center and the Department of Social and Health Services. The device was later taken into custody by the Washington State Bomb Patrol and the area was cleared later the same night. The Walla Walla Police Department currently has no leads or suspects.

At 5:32 p.m. WWPD received a call from an individual who had found a device that resembled a homemade bomb.

“The person who identified the object picked it up. When he realized what it was, he threw it,” said Officer Tim Hollingsworth.

Hollingsworth, along with two other police officers, arrived on campus and determined that the device was a sparkler bomb. WWPD then immediately notified Dean of Students Chuck Cleveland, Chief Financial Officer Peter Harvey, Whitman Security and President George Bridges.

Because the device was determined to be a sparkler bomb, the Washington State Bomb Patrol from the Tri-Cities was also contacted to arrive on scene about an hour later.

“These are handmade and homemade devices. A bunch of sparklers are bunched together and taped; they can make a lot of damage. I’ve seen some that can take down a brick wall,” Hollingsworth said. “Luckily, this one hadn’t gone off.”

WWPD proceded to cordon off the areas east and west of where the bomb was found and to notify Clarette’s Restaurant and the Department of Social and Health Services. They also evacuated Bratton Tennis Center.

After Whitman Security arrived on scene, Director of Security Terry Thompson and Associate Director of Security Craig McKinnon walked around the perimeter of Bratton Tennis Center, Baker Ferguson Faculty Center, Harper Joy Theatre and Sherwood Center to see if there were any other threats or devices.

“We found nothing suspicious and at that point we deemed the situation not dangerous,” Thompson said.

Dean of Students Chuck Cleveland, Chief Financial Officer Peter Harvey and President George Bridges were all notified of the situation by the police shortly after the bomb sighting was called in. Since police and security had secured the area and found no immediate threats, Cleveland said they made the decision to not use the mass-text notification system and sent out a campus-wide email explaining the situation instead.

“We felt using the emergency warning system would only heighten anxiety when it wasn’t necessary to do so,” he said.

At about 8:30 p.m. the same night, the device was removed by the Washington State Bomb Patrol to be taken to an undisclosed location and destroyed. The area was soon after declared clear.

According to Hollingsworth, although the investigation is ongoing, the police department currently has no leads or suspects. Thompson also noted that the college is not currently involved with the investigation.

“If we don’t find or receive any leads or information on a suspect, we will close the case,” Hollingsworth said.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Whitman Wire Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *