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Bomb threat at Panorama City hospital forces evacuations; man in custody

March 3, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A bomb squad blew up a suspicious package at a Panorama City hospital after a man claimed it was a bomb.

Terrified patients scrambled out of Mission Community Hospital Sunday as the bomb squad rushed in. Authorities said the suspect walked into the emergency room around 6:30 p.m. Hospital staff became concerned about his actions and called police.

"He's looking around, making it look suspicious. His hands were in the wrong place. He had a bag on him that looked like, you know, something might be in there," said witness Junior Jamil.

Authorities said the suspect left a black duffel bag inside the emergency room. The bomb squad arrived and sent in a robot to inspect the bag. Thirty-one patients and about 10 employees were evacuated.

According to investigators, there were no explosives in the bag, but because the man had threatened to hurt people, they took action to protect patients, staff and hospital visitors.

"He did make a substantial threat against the lives of the folks in the hospital, so they called the police. We took him into custody. And at some point during that time, we realized he was making a threat regarding a bomb," said Capt. Jeff Bert with the Los Angeles Police Department.

Once it was determined the hospital was no longer in danger, the emergency room reopened.