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San Clemente High remains on lockdown; Navy corpsman sought [Updated]

September 7, 2011 | 12:48 pm

Authorities have released the name of a Navy corpsman whose writings allegedly describing explosives being planted at San Clemente High School touched off a massive evacuation on the first day of class at one of Orange County's largest public school campuses.

Daniel Morgan, 22, was last seen at Camp Pendleton on Tuesday night and was absent without authorization. Officials searching for the corpsman said they believed he was driving a white Jeep Wrangler with a black top. The vehicle's California license plate is 6NKZ930.

"Many times you get crank calls on the first day of school but this is turned up a notch because this is somebody in the military who would have access to explosive devices," said Orange County Sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino.

"We are going room by room, inch by inch," said Amormino. "It's a big campus, but all the students are safe."

Sheriff's officials did not discuss a motive or detail what Morgan allegedly described in his writings, other than to say he had placed explosives in or around San Clemente High.

At least 3,200 students and 180 members of the school's staff were evacuated, first to the campus's football stadium. Authorities later began moving the evacuees to the gymnasium after it was cleared by bomb-sniffing dogs.

Just an announcement that students could move about and use a restroom was enough to bring a cheer.

[Updated at 12:58 p.m. School officials began allowing students to leave campus for the day as the search for explosives continued.

Students said they were pleased to finally get out of the hot sun or the stuffy conditions in the school gym.

"We thought we were going to die from the heat, not a bomb,” said Tab Lawley, a senior.]

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-- Mike Anton and Andrew Blankstein

Photo: San Clemente High School students walk from the football field to the gymnasium after the school was evacuated because of a bomb threat. Deputies searched the campus with dogs. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times