Lockdown at Tucson JCC lifted after bomb threat - Tucson News Now

Lockdown at Tucson JCC lifted after bomb threat

People leaving after 'all clear' given. (Source: Tucson New Now) People leaving after 'all clear' given. (Source: Tucson New Now)
Tucson Police on the scene at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. (Source: Tucson News Now) Tucson Police on the scene at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. (Source: Tucson News Now)
TPD on scene at Tucson JCC. (Source: Tucson News Now) TPD on scene at Tucson JCC. (Source: Tucson News Now)
(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Tucson police cleared the Tucson Jewish Community Center around 7 p.m. Monday.  

The JCC had been placed on lockdown after a reported threat to the facility around 5:30 p.m. 

According to Sgt. Pete Dugan, spokesman for the Tucson Police Department, a phone call was made about a bomb threat in the parking lot of the JCC.  

The TPD bomb squad responded, and the JCC parking lot and surrounding area were evacuated.  

JCC administration moved everyone that was inside to a safer area on the premises.  According to Sgt. Dugan, family members that were driving in were being held in a separate area while the bomb squad investigated. 

Members of the JCC received a voice mail alert about the incident, they were told everyone is OK and not to go to the center.

There were an estimated 200 people inside the auditorium, people Tucson News Now spoke to described the mood as “anxious”  

The FBI worked with the TPD to investigate the threat, and no bomb was found. 

"Definitely worried," said Chris Wallace, who waited 30 minutes before being reunited with family. "Concerned people are out there making these kinds of threats." His ex-wife had been inside the JCC with their 15-month-old daughter, though Wallace had been in communication with her during his wait.  

Gabriel Bartlett, 13-years old, was getting ready for swim practice when his coach told him and his teammates there was a bomb threat and everyone needed to head to the auditorium. He described the mood inside the room as fairly calm. 

"Very few people were freaking out. We were mostly socializing with our friends," said Gabriel. "It was kind of uncomfortable for me, personally. I was a little bit nervous." 
 
The CEO of the JCC is relieved everyone is okay and this bomb threat was just a hoax. 
 
“We feel very comfortable with our procedures and what we have done and thank everyone for their patience and cooperation with us,” Todd Rockoff, the CEO of JCC said. 

This threat comes as there has been a sharp increase in the number of threatening actions against Jewish institutions. They have sparked the Anti-Defamation League to issue security guidelines to all Jewish institutions in the U.S.

Prior to the incident in Tucson, at least 16 Jewish Community Centers in 11 states received bomb threats Monday.  

Miami police investigated incidents of several vehicles having swastikas keyed into them, and a rabbi told WSVN that somebody drew a swastika on a glass door at a Jewish temple. Vandalism of Jewish cemeteries continued in Philadelphia, days after a similar incident in St, Louis.

On Monday, bomb threats were called in to schools community in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia, according to Jewish Community Center Association of North America.

[READ MORE: Anti-Semiitic threats, vandalism sweep U.S.]  

We have a reporter on the way and will bring you updates as they become available.

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