CBS2 reports that the LAPD bomb squad was call in after a suspicious package was found outside of the Los Angeles Convention Center Friday night. The package turned out to be a bag of clothes, and some streets were closed causing some disruption for the Star Wars Celebration attendees nearby.
However, one blogger’s account details a much wider level of panic, with conflicting details.
Brandon Weaver writes that near chaos broke out when he was stopped at the front door after waiting in line for opening ceremonies last night, an even attended by Mayor Villaraigosa and featured the USC marching band, along with hundreds of marching stormtroopers and others dressed as characters fromt the Star Wars film. Brandon adds that up to 1500 were still behind him in a line that stretched for blocks, while inside the convention hall was only 60% full.
With no explanation, and a staff that seemed as confused as attendees, people were kicked out of the building after the event began having to leave their bags behind.
I gathered from overheard conversations that the parking garages, like the building, had been evacuated, and no one was allowed to their cars. The man in the blue shirt confirmed this. People were not allowed into the building, or to the parking garages. It was all being taped off by police. The LAPD was to blame. Not the Star Wars Celebration Staff. Still, no one knew why…
We waited. The building was taped off. Firetrucks and Police cars were everywhere. Flares where on the road, blocking all traffic… Bomb squad SUV’s started showing up. I personally saw two, people claimed there was four. The “bomb threat” theory floated through the crowd. One man theorized the bomb threat was called in from a “bent Trekkie”.
We went up to a policeman and asked if he knew anything. He said curtly “I’m not allowed to tell you.”
After a few minutes, the cop confessed:
Finally, and quite unexpectedly, he told us there was a “package”, and the police wanted to investigate it. He pointed to another gentleman walking past, “it’s about 3 times bigger than the pack he’s wearing. Do you know how much C4 you could put into that? 60-70lbs worth. They’ve been hosing it down with water and know the bomb squad is here.”
Considering the convention was full of armed stormtroopers, many carrying prop thermonuclear detonators, and even more odd shaped backpacks and containers, its surprising that of all things a bag of clothes is what caused the largest disruption at the event.
But is that how the police deal with 60-70 pounds of explosive, by getting it wet?