Bomb scare causes evacuation of shopping center

Mon, 07/09/2007 - 8:42am
By: Ben Nelms

It was a precautionary tale Tuesday night as Tyrone Police responded to a suspicious, but ultimately harmless, briefcase found behind Southhampton Village shopping center on Ga. Highway 74. Officers evacuated the few open businesses prior to members of the Clayton County bomb squad determining that the briefcase was empty and posed no threat.

The incident began at just before 8:00 p.m. as nine year-old Brooke McCune, daughter of Pet Showcase owners C.J. and Scott McCune, was playing behind her parent’s business near the south end of the shopping center. Brooke came back into the store, saying she found the locked, brown leather briefcase positioned against a light post just off the driving surface behind the stores, her parents said. Not willing to take any chances, the couple called Tyrone Police to report the curious finding. The store owners’ concerns were heightened because the briefcase had not been present only two hours earlier when they were walking their dogs, C.J. McCune said.

Police arrived and took the precautions so often evidenced in America today, evacuating the businesses that were still open at that hour, including the Publix grocery store and several restaurants, according to Tyrone Police Public Information Officer Capt. Brandon Perkins. Meanwhile, other Tyrone officers took a position near the briefcase in the rear of the buildings behind Pet Showcase and Partner’s Pizza while Fayette County Fire and Emergency Services units cordoned off entrances to the shopping center.

Members of the Clayton County bomb squad arrived at 9:25 p.m., accessing the situation and soon determining that the briefcase posed no threat. They hosed down the briefcase and used a small incendiary device to gain access to the briefcase, which was found to be empty inside.

There was no explanation as to who had placed the briefcase next to the light post or for what reason, though Scott McCune commented that a tractor-trailer rig had been parked in the immediate area prior to the briefcase’s discovery.

With the incident handled and over by shortly after 10 p.m., firefighters left the scene, officers in the area were holding a last minute discussion of the events and the McCune’s were back to walking one of the dogs from their pet shop.

login to post comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Submitted by ishmael07 on Sun, 07/15/2007 - 10:02am.

Why did the Clayton County Bomb Squad have to take care of this situation? Does this mean that Fayette County has no bomb squad? What if there were a real bomb? Would the public have to wait for an hour and 25 minutes for the bomb to be disarmed? Anyone have any information about this?

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.