HUMBOLDT — One juvenile was taken into custody Wednesday after authorities removed a homemade explosive device from a Humboldt High School locker room.
Both the high school and adjoining middle school were evacuated during the incident.
A bomb squad from the Kansas Highway Patrol was responsible for removing the device, which was to be destroyed later off site.
The incident began shortly after 10 a.m. when a teacher spotted the device and notified Principal John Johnson.
Authorities were called immediately and the students evacuated.
The device was found in one of the locker rooms near the school’s old gymnasium.
The students were pulled from their classrooms and walked to the elementary school a block away. They were allowed to grab their coats, but had to leave everything else.
“We know what to do if there’s a drill,” Noah Johnson, a high school senior, said in a telephone interview afterward. “We asked the secretary if this was a drill. She said it wasn’t. That’s when we knew it was something serious, but everybody stayed pretty calm.”
A remote-controlled apparatus was used to remove the device from the building, at which time a KHP bomb squad member — in full bomb suit — X-rayed the device to determine its contents.
After that, bomb-sniffing dogs were dispatched into each building on the campus to search for other devices. None were found.
THE JUVENILE accused of taking the device to school was taken to a juvenile detention center in Girard. The juvenile’s name was not released.
“We don’t believe there was any malicious intent,” Allen County Sheriff Bryan Murphy said.
About 300 students and faculty were removed from the buildings while officers were on site.
“The evacuation plan went well,” the sheriff continued. “Everything went without incident.”
Several agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and Federal Bureau of Investigation joined KHP, the sheriff’s department and Humboldt Police Department.
Humboldt Police Chief Brian Dillow praised the teamwork involved in resolving the situation.
Volunteer firefighters and deputies provided traffic control surrounding the schools in every direction.
“Everybody worked well together” and brought the incident to a safe resolution, the chief said.
AFTER being sent to the elementary school, students were allowed to go home if their parents were on hand to retrieve them.
The rest were dismissed at 2 p.m., although none of the evacuees were allowed to get their vehicles until the buildings were secured.
Officers were on scene until 4 p.m.; the evacuation order was lifted shortly thereafter, and students and teachers allowed to get their vehicles.