Bomb Threat Leads to Scare at Hamilton College

Caroline Main, Managing Editor

On Monday, April 13, at Hamilton College, a possible shooter and bomb threat caused a campus-wide lockdown for over seven hours. Reports were later deemed not credible by the 50 police officers on the scene, who were able to collect evidence determining that the threats were unsubstantiated. 

“At approximately 9:40 a.m., Hamilton College’s Office of Campus Safety received a bomb threat, and the caller referenced a possible shooting at Kirner-Johnson Building,” describes the statement posted on Hamilton College’s website. 

The threat was initially substantiated by two unidentified packages in the indicated building. Immediately, students and faculty in the Kirner-Johnson building were evacuated, and the rest of campus was under a shelter-in-place order, and later many buildings were evacuated to the Field House. Classes for the remainder of the day were cancelled. 

Confusion persisted for most of the day – though initial rumors of a shooter had been suppressed, it remained unclear whether or not there were bombs on campus.

“I’m not saying that it’s a bomb, I’m not saying that at all. All I’m saying is that the dog has alerted to this item saying it may contain something that could produce a bomb,” New York State Police Trooper Captain Francis Coots said in an article for TWC News mid-afternoon. 

At 5:55 p.m. the threat was judged as unsubstantiated by the New York State Police, who had searched the building in question as well as adjacent buildings with bomb-sniffing canine units. Campus was alerted and the shelter-in-place order was lifted. New York State Troopers stayed on Hamilton’s campus until Tuesday. Law enforcement officials say they will continue to investigate the original call.

“I reacted, like most, to yesterday’s threat with doubt initially. Once I saw the emergency emails being sent, however, I knew that I would not be attending my class and I actually got in my car and left campus just to be safe,” Hamilton College senior Zach Arnold said. 

“I think we were all relieved when yesterday turned out to be an idle threat; however, the community still feels very uneasy as we are attempting to return to business as usual. I imagine that everyone will remain feeling a little less safe until we know who made that call.”