TEMPLE CITY — The second bomb threat in two days at a Temple City school prompted a campus evacuation and search, though nothing suspicious was ultimately found, authorities said.
A caller phoned in a bomb threat to Longden Elementary School just before the school day began Wednesday, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Martinez said.
The threatening phone came less than 10 hours after another call Tuesday night claiming bombs had been placed at Temple City High School, the sergeant said. Deputies searched the empty high school campus after receiving the threatening phone call and found nothing out of the ordinary.
It was too early to say whether the incidents were related, however investigators were looking into the possibility, Martinez said.
“We couldn’t really tell by the voices,” he said.
In Wednesdays incident at Longden Elementary School, a caller with a male voice called both the school and 9-1-1, which was answered by the California Highway Patrol, Martinez said. The caller claimed there were two bombs on the campus.
It was not clear where the call had been placed from.
In very brief statement, Martinez said, the caller stated that there were two bombs on the campus of the elementary school, 9501 E. Wendon Street.
“The students were evacuated to a safe area,” Temple City Unified School District spokeswoman Lynn Burkhardt said.
Deputies, with help from explosives-sniffing dogs, searched the campus.
Deputies completed their campus search but found nothing of concern and sounded the all-clear shortly before 10:45 a.m.
The threatening phone calls were made just before the start of the school day, Burkhardt said. Classes were cancelled.
Students who had not yet arrived when the incident began were turned around when they showed up, she said.
Between 300 and 400 of Longden’s 1,000 or so students were already on-campus, however, TCUSD Chief Business Officials David Jaynes said. They were walked to nearby Oak Avenue Intermediate School to be picked up by their guardians.
Longden Elementary parents were notified parents via an automated phone message, Jaynes added.
Wednesday was a scheduled shortened school day at Longden, and students were due to be released at 1 p.m.
All but a handful had been picked up from Oak Avenue Intermediate School by noon.
The Longden Elementary School bomb threat came on the heels of another bomb threat phoned in to Temple City High School late Tuesday.
In that case, a caller — also described as male — claimed about 10:30 p.m. that bombs had been placed on the high school campus, Martinez said. The school was unoccupied and locked up.
“The school was opened for us, and we did go in and check the interior,” Martinez said. Nothing unusual was found, however teachers were advised to look over their classrooms at the beginning of the day Wednesday and check for anything out of the ordinary.
And the region has had more than its share telephone threats in recent weeks.
A multi-agency task force arrested a 26-year-old Monrovia man with a prior history of making threatening phone calls in connection with a series of six calls threatening shootings at schools, hospitals and a mall throughout the San Gabriel Valley Sept. 9 through Sept. 12.
Gerardo Cortez has since been charged with six felony counts of making criminal threats and one count of falsely reporting an emergency, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials. He’s scheduled to appear for arraignment Oct. 4 in West Covina Superior Court.
In April, Cortez pleaded “no contest” to a single count of making a false bomb report in connection with another series of threats. He had originally been charged with three additional counts, which were dismissed under the plea agreement, officials said.
Cortez was initially arrested in October on suspicion of making bomb threats against a post office, a health department building and a school in Pasadena.
He was sentenced under AB 109 guidelines and served eight months of 16-month jail sentence before being released in late June, according to district attorney’s officials and county booking records.
STAFF photo by Leo Jarzomb