Several hundred people gathered Tuesday night in east Columbus to protest a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for shooting and killing Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.
So Far No Bombs Found In OSU Labs, Library
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So far, state and federal authorities have found no evidence explosive devises in any of the four buildings closed on campus.
Helicopters hovered overhead and fire alarms rang intermittently in the distance on Ohio State’s central campus. Dozens of students sat or stood in small groups looking toward three laboratories on West 18th Avenue…McPherson, Scott and Smith lab buildings were evacuated. Just south of there, Thompson Library also had been vacated.
The Columbus FBI branch notified Ohio State earlier that there could be explosive devices in those four buildings. Text messages and email alerts began going out to students and employees and alarms sounded.
“I was taking a mid-term exam,” Buckingham said.
Senior Ashley Buckingham said everyone in her Smith Laboratory class left the building.
“And then some fireman came up and told us we had to move back further and further and further. And then they just put up all this caution tape, and there’s all these armed guards standing around,” Buckingham said.
Senior Travis Walker was next door in Scott Laboratory working on research.
“It just seemed like a fire alarm, they just had the lights go off, the blinking lights, and then the alarm saying there’s an emergency in the building,” Walker said.
Campus near The Oval was crawling with state and federal authorities including the FBI. Columbus Police SWAT were on hand and bomb sniffing dogs walked the grounds. By 11 a.m. no explosive devices had been located, but investigators continued the search.
Authorities would not speculate on the motive behind the threat. OSU Vice President of Public Safety Vernon Baisden was asked if it could be connected to any research going on at the labs.
“That could very well be a part of the investigation but in terms of, at this point in time, there’s nothing that has jumped out but you never know how the investigation might go,” Baisden said.
Baisden said this was the most serious threat OSU ever has received. “We’ve certainly had threats of different kinds over the years, but in this vein, not that I can recall,” he said.
Smith and McPherson Labs are set to re-open at 5 p.m. Scott is scheduled to open back up at 6 p.m., and Thompson Library follows them at 9.