Fourth threat in one week at Texas State’s LBJ Student Center

Police surround the LBJ Student Center at Texas State University on Nov. 1, 2017 after another threat was made. (KXAN Photo/Lauren Lanmon)
Police surround the LBJ Student Center at Texas State University on Nov. 1, 2017 after another threat was made. (KXAN Photo/Lauren Lanmon)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas State University is investigating the third threat in two days against the LBJ Student Center.

In a tweet sent before 10:50 a.m. Wednesday, the university in San Marcos said the student center is being evacuated for a bomb threat, but other university activities are continuing as normal. By 11:10 a.m., university police issued an “all clear” for the building.

University officials believe all of the threats are connected. They won’t confirm which texts triggered the evacuations, but their information lines up with what we’re receiving from students. Cell phone screen grabs are spreading all over Twitter and GroupMe chats. Students sent us one text that circulated last Thursday. It says, “I’m about to blow up LBJ there are bombs on each of the 5 floors I’ll be enjoying every single worker and college student explode into many pieces! This is a warning.”

“It’s really scary that someone would do something like this. I know there are a lot of people working in LBJ who are walking on eggshells,” said Texas State Student Skylar Morrow. “It’s happened too many times.”

University officials say the most recent threat was sent around 9:40 Wednesday morning but wasn’t reported right away. Over an hour later, the University Police Department evacuated the building.

“It wasn’t communicated originally to officers, so it took a while before it came to our attention,” said Texas State University Spokesperson Matt Flores.

The fact that all threats have come from the same number has a lot of people wondering why that person hasn’t been caught yet. “There should be more action taken in tracking down the phone and who it is,” said Morrow.

However, Flores says it’s not that easy. “It’s not as simple as, oh well obviously it’s this phone number and we can trace down that phone number. People can mimic existing phone numbers, if it were as simple as tracking down that one phone, it would have already been done,” he said.

UPD is leading the case, but may hand it over soon because they have requested help from federal agencies like the FBI.

“We know when there are things of this nature we have to seek outside help from law enforcement entities that are more familiar with these types of cases, so that is what we are doing here,” said Flores.

In all of these situations, the threat has only targeted the LBJ Studen Center and that was the only building that had to be evacuated. KXAN wanted to see if UPD has filed any search warrants regarding these threats that might indicate they’re on to a suspect. But, according to the District Clerk’s office, nothing has been filed since last Monday.

On Tuesday, the university received two other threats. That morning, it said a threat was made against the center but cleared by 12:40 p.m. It evacuated the center again after a bomb threat around 1:38 p.m.

Texas State said in a Facebook message that Tuesday’s first threat “originated from the same mobile device used in a bomb threat to the LBJ Center last week,” but it wasn’t a bomb threat.

On Thursday, Oct. 26, a bomb threat forced police to evacuate the LBJ Student Center for several hours.

Texas State University has created a webpage specifically for questions regarding the bomb threats along with information on what students and parents can do to be notified in situations like these.

Some phones that may not be as easy to trace are known as “burner phones” which people can buy without having to give personal information. Police have not said if the threats at Texas State are coming from that kind of phone. A member of Congress from California tried to require stores like Walmart and Target to get information from buyers including their name before selling a burner phone. However, the bill never made it out of committee.

 

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