Bomb Threat Closes Big Lake Schools

By Michael Stafford
Newswest 9

A big mess in Big Lake on Tuesday all because of a man threatening to set off a bomb at the high school. It turned out to be a hoax, but it rattled quite a few nerves in the small town of three thousand.  A community that's not use to this sort of thing.

Tuesday's bomb threat created a unique situation for Reagan County school officials simply because they've never experienced one before, so says Band Director Bob Vetter who has been in Big Lake for 25 years.

"It was a low male voice.  I couldn't distinguish who it was.  I've been here 25 years, and I've never seen anything like this, not in Big Lake,"  says Vetter.

The lockdown included a bomb sniffing dog called in from the Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo.  The crew spent about two hours walking from building to building, but as in most bomb threats at schools, they found nothing.

DPS Troopers, the State Game Warden's office, Deputies and local firefighters set up a command post just in case.

Superintendent Marshall Harrison took no chances, and ordered an immediate evacuation of the high school, and he temporarily closed the middle and elementary school.

Students walked over to the football field, and then were then bused to the Community Center which holds about 700 people.

"We started releasing the kids at 2:45p.m.  We had the parents line up in a single file line, and they had to check out the kids, just to protect them.  That's why we're here." says Harrison.

The Reagan County Sheriff knows these kinds of things typically happen in much larger cities, but he didn't want to chance it.

"The day and time we live in, we feel like for the safety of the students, we have to do this.  We are trying to find out where the call came from.  We have the Texas Rangers assisting us with that and Verizon.  We're hoping the phone system can help us at the school once we get back in," added Sheriff Garner. 

Besides the cost to investigate the hoax, and the disrupted schedule today, the other real nuissance came to students and faculty members who had to catch a ride home, and were forced to leave their cars in the school parking lot until this evening.

Coincidentally, the Sheriff says he was planning to do an emergency drill in Big Lake soon. 

Looks like now, he won't have to.