Bomb Scare at School Forces Evacuation in Lynchburg

Bomb squad robot

Lynchburg, VA - There was a heavy police presence and people were forced to evacuate in Lynchburg Thursday morning because of a bomb threat that turned out to be the real thing.

Now, a 14-year-old boy is in police custody facing several charges.

The Lynchburg Police Department, the Lynchburg Fire Department's Haz-Mat team, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the State Police bomb squad responded to the scene at the Rivermont School on Forest Hills Circle off Old Forest Road about 7:45 a.m.

The State Police bomb squad robot is wiped clean after setting off the device that set off quite a chain of events Thursday morning.

Lynchburg Police Captain Ryan Zuidema say the 14-year-old student brought a chemical bomb to the alternative school.

He says the Rivermont School administrators learned the boy had it and an administrator brought it outside away from the other 56 and 20 staff members.

Police and Public works shut down the road at both ends.

"We happened to look out and there was fire department, police cars blocking the area," said Joey Arthur, a chiropractor at the office two doors down. "We had a patient come in and explain to us that she was having trouble getting in our parking lot. We continued to work, and next thing you know we're leaving the building."

Arthur says police told him the evacuation was voluntary.

Police say the bomb was about one foot high, but it was not small enough to take a chance.

"It definitely could have hurt people had anybody been in the immediate area. It's not something we believe that would have been able to destroy the building," said Zuidema.

After about four hours, the chiropractic office staff was allowed to return to the building.

Meanwhile, the 14-year-old who police say set this all into motion is downtown being questioned by detectives.

Rivermont School is run by Centra and offers an alternative educational setting for students with severe emotional and behavioral disabilities, according to Centra's website.

Officials say the students in school Thursday were taken by bus to a safe location where they were picked up by parents or guardians.