USC bomb threat came from psychiatric ward, police sources say [Updated]
The call to authorities about a bomb threat at USC originated from the psychiatric ward at USC University Hospital, police sources said. [Updated at 7:50 p.m.: An earlier version of this post said the threat came from County-USC Medical Center.]
The caller had apparently reported various crimes earlier in the day, the sources said. He finally got the attention of authorities when he reported a “nuclear weapon” at the USC campus.
Dozens of Los Angeles police officers were dispatched as a precaution, and university officials shut down the Leavey Library and warned students and staff to stay away. Some nearby streets were closed.
Officials familiar with the investigation said police now believe that the call was a hoax. They cleared the campus about 1:30 p.m.
Law enforcement sources initially told The Times that the university received a call from someone claiming he had planted a bomb inside a campus building. However, those sources said they believed the caller was intoxicated and didn't think he actually planted a bomb.
Several students reported on Twitter that they had been ordered to stay inside their classrooms.
USC senior Meshay Brown, 22, said her journalism professor had been instructed by campus security to keep students in the classroom while police investigated the threat.
“We’re not sure if it’s a prank or if it’s for real, so we’re kind of scared,” she said. “We’re using our phones and Twitter to find out information because we don’t really have much.”
-- Andrew Blankstein and Kate Linthicum