PUEBLO — Authorities have cleared Pueblo D60's Goodnight Elementary School after students and staff were evacuated Thursday morning due to a bomb threat, according to the Pueblo Police Department.
All personnel are safe and were moved to the Colorado State Fair Events Center. The district had parents and guardians pick up their children around 10 a.m. at that location on Beulah Avenue.
The threat was called in at roughly 8:20 a.m. with a computerized voice message claiming bombs had been placed in the school's drainage pipes. The bomb squad found no evidence of any explosives on the campus.
"Once everybody was evacuated, we made a determination that there was an item we needed to check on. We called in the team, we went in and analyzed that item, determined there was no threat, and actually took it because it was important to the case," said Captain Dustin Taylor, the Pueblo Metro Bomb Squad Commander.
Taylor went on to say the item in question was likely left by a person of interest in the case. "There was a suspect that we believe was at the building today. I want to reiterate that there's no danger in the community or anything else at this point," he said.
As of Thursday evening, Captain Taylor said they believe they have contacted the person of interest who was at the school. He also said there is no set number of how many suspects that may be involved in this case.
"I thought she was going to be sick, that they were calling me telling me that she was in the office sick. But when they told me there was a threat, I was kind of panicked wondering what was going on," said one father picking up his daughter.
According to D60's plans for reunification, greeters were on-site to explain the process to parents. All parents or guardians were asked to have a photo ID ready to verify they have custody rights over the child. The district said they asked parents or guardians to fill out a card with personal information and the child's information.
Most people picking up students seemed very pleased with the way District 60 handled the situation.
"It wasn't so chaotic, everything ran smoothly. Everyone was very professional and diligent about it. Got in, got our son, everything's safe," said one mother.
All students were accounted for, according to Pueblo School District 60.
The threat at the school comes after a string of "swatting calls" over the last several days, meaning someone has called in false claims hoping to get a reaction from police. The Pueblo Police Department cannot yet confirm or deny if the bomb threat and other calls are connected. "This is one of the first ones this year that we've noticed at a school. We've actually had a couple here at the department, that may have been tied into what happened today," said Taylor, explaining there have been two bomb threats called into the Pueblo Police Department in the past month.
Taylor has worked with the Pueblo Metro Bomb Squad since 2008. During approximately the past year, he said he has seen the highest number of bomb calls into the Pueblo Police Department ever. "In this time of turmoil across the country, we're keeping track, we're paying attention, and making sure that our officers and civilian employees here are safe," Taylor said.
Taylor said this crime would be considered false information of an explosive device, and is typically a Class 6 felony.
Meanwhile, teachers at the school have planned and prepared for a threat like this. "Bomb threats usually aren't as frequent. But you know, over the last 20 years, the active shooter drills have become quite common... It's unfortunate that we have to have these situations where the teachers are having to worry about protecting students in life-threatening situations," said Mike Maes, the president of the Pueblo Education Association.
The campus is located on Windy Way, just south of Thatcher Ave (96) on the city's east side.