Authorities are investigating a series of bomb threats issued Tuesday against several universities and colleges in Hampton Roads.
Regent University in Virginia Beach, Tidewater Community College in Chesapeake, Virginia Peninsula Community College in Hampton and Norfolk State University all received threats on Tuesday, according to school and public safety officials. No explosives were found on any of the campuses.
TCC Chesapeake received a threat from a backpack bomb with a timer located in an undisclosed area of campus, according to the Chesapeake Fire Department. It was unclear whether other universities had received threats of a similar nature.
Chesapeake Fire Department said the initial report of TCC came in at 11:21 a.m. The college was evacuated and the school sent out a campus-wide notification and told people to stay away of police activity.
About 180 students, faculty and staff were on the TCC Chesapeake campus Tuesday morning when the threat was made, TCC spokeswoman Laura Sanford said. Chesapeake police and firefighters were at the TCC scene on Cedar Road at 11:47 a.m. and gave the “all clear” at 11:58 a.m., she said.
“No explosive devices were found and a go-ahead was given to reoccupy the building,” said Capt. Steve Bradley of the Chesapeake Fire Department. “The investigation will continue in coordination with nearby towns that have received similar threats.”
University and Virginia Beach police conducted a sweep of the Regent campus and issued an “all clear” at 1:10 p.m., allowing the campus to reopen, according to Chris Roslan, a Regent spokesman.
Roslan did not provide the exact number of people who were on Regent campus at the time of the threat, but said there were “very few” due to summer vacation.
Virginia Peninsula Community College police received a threatening call at 12:18 p.m., prompting them to notify Hampton Police and set the fire. A K-9 unit searched Hastings Hall on the Hampton campus but located no devices. Everyone was allowed back into the building at 2:18 p.m., according to a college spokesperson.
“No one was injured or ever in danger,” said Kelvin Maxwell, campus police chief.
At NSU, a university spokesperson said the call for a bomb threat at the university’s administration building was passed to Norfolk police just before noon. All students, faculty and staff were moved and police searched the building. No explosives were found and a green light was issued at 1:17 p.m.
Tidewater Community College, a public community college with four campuses in South Hampton Roads, enrolled nearly 25,000 students across the region in the 2020-2021 school year. Regent University, a private Christian university, had 10,386 students enrolled in fall 2021. Virginia Peninsula, a public community college with two campuses, one in Hampton and the other in James City County, enrolled nearly 10,000 students in the 2020-2021 school year. . Norfolk State University, a historically black university, enrolled 5,457 students in 2020.
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Tuesday’s series of bomb threats against local schools comes after Norfolk State University and Hampton University received threats which ended up being part of a nationwide wave of threats against historically black religious and academic institutions targeted earlier this year. A total of 57 schools and institutions received threats between January 4 and February 16. No explosive devices were found in connection with the threats made during this period, according to the FBI.
An FBI spokesman said Tuesday the bureau was aware of the bomb threats “received by multiple colleges and universities,” but declined to comment on the number of area colleges that had received threats.
Writer Lauren Girgis contributed to this report.
Gavin Stone, [email protected]