Campus Closed Following a Potential Bomb Threat

Suspect is in custody

Cerritos+College+police+and+the+Norwalk+Sheriff%27s+Station+were+posted+on+various+corners+of+the+Cerritos+College+campus%2C+blocking+off+the+affected+areas.+They+arrived+shortly+before+noon+due+to+a+suspect+allegedly+disrupting+a+math+class+as+well+as+a+potential+bomb+threat+on+Sept.+3%2C+2019.
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Campus Closed Following a Potential Bomb Threat

Cerritos College police and the Norwalk Sheriff's Station were posted on various corners of the Cerritos College campus, blocking off the affected areas. They arrived shortly before noon due to a suspect allegedly disrupting a math class as well as a potential bomb threat on Sept. 3, 2019.

Cerritos College police and the Norwalk Sheriff's Station were posted on various corners of the Cerritos College campus, blocking off the affected areas. They arrived shortly before noon due to a suspect allegedly disrupting a math class as well as a potential bomb threat on Sept. 3, 2019.

TM Jasmine Martinez

Cerritos College police and the Norwalk Sheriff's Station were posted on various corners of the Cerritos College campus, blocking off the affected areas. They arrived shortly before noon due to a suspect allegedly disrupting a math class as well as a potential bomb threat on Sept. 3, 2019.

TM Jasmine Martinez

TM Jasmine Martinez

Cerritos College police and the Norwalk Sheriff's Station were posted on various corners of the Cerritos College campus, blocking off the affected areas. They arrived shortly before noon due to a suspect allegedly disrupting a math class as well as a potential bomb threat on Sept. 3, 2019.

Jasmine Martinez and Edgar Mendoza

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A suspect is in custody following an approximately two-hour shelter-in-place lockdown at Cerritos College regarding a potential bomb threat on campus on Sept. 3.

The subject entered a math class at approximately 11:25 a.m., disrupting the class, as reported by a student who was present.

The campus will remain closed for the duration of Sept. 3, with all classes being canceled.

The subject allegedly left the room in a hurry at about 11:40 a.m. The student who reported these events did not wish to be named due to safety concerns.

Two Cerritos College police cars were stationed between the Math Computer and Informational Science building and the Physical Science and Technology building around 11:58 a.m.

Students and faculty were instructed to remain indoors and lock all possible points of entry, however, the cause of the lockdown was not made clear.

The potential bomb threat was made known via the Cerritos College Twitter account at 12:37 p.m.

Initial reports led students to believe that there was an active shooter on campus.

RAVE Alert, a messaging system that notifies Cerritos College students of potential threats to campus, were not sent out until approximately 20 minutes after the announcement via the college’s intercom system.

At first, students were unable to determine the cause of the alert, believing it to be a drill.

As student Ezekiel Brown, undecided major, said: “ We thought it was a fire alarm and didn’t know what was happening.”

“It was both frustrating and terrifying,” Martha Perez, journalism major, continued, “The alerts didn’t come in until way late, it was all so slow-paced, and it seemed that keeping the students updated was not the priority.”

Following the initial threat, the class buildings alongside Alondra Boulevard, including Liberal Arts, Social Science and the Burnight Center were evacuated by campus police and students and staff were relocated to the back of the Multipurpose building and the Cerritos College library, away from the Administration building.

Faculty were then stationed on various locations throughout campus, directing students and staff away from the possible threat.

The Norwalk Sheriff’s Station arrived shortly after and closed off the buildings from Liberal Arts to Administration with yellow caution tape, preventing anyone from entering the affected area.

President of Cerritos College, Jose Fierro, was present near the scene and said, “There was a backpack which allegedly is where the bomb could have been. Everything is closed until the bomb squad gets here to clear the area.”

Fierro said the bomb squad would take two to three hours to arrive, but they were onsite within an hour of the initial evacuation, according to his Twitter statement.

“It’s [a] good thing we have practiced shelter-in-place [drills],” Fierro said gratefully, “It’s one of those things that you practice, but you hope you never have to use.”

However, some faculty said they felt unprepared for such an event, as stated by Regina Campbell, an assistant at Admissions and Records.

“We didn’t know what to do, because we haven’t really had any drills about this sort of thing,” Campbell expressed.

Fierro commented that it was a relatively quick reaction, but that college officials “can always do things better. After all this, hopefully, we’ll have a time to sit down and debrief on how we can do better.”

Campus will reopen and classes will resume on Sept. 4.

 

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