Police were questioning a 13-year-old Florida boy tonight about what they called a hoax bomb that “was made to look like an explosive device” and left in a Broward County middle school, leading to two schools being evacuated.
The hoax device was made to look like two sticks of dynamite, with some sort of timer, according to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. It had been at the Millennium Middle School for more than a day, and the sixth grade student had allegedly bragged to other kids that “he had placed bombs” at the school.
Just after 3 p.m. today, students who had allegedly seen the boy place the hoax device in the school courtyard told teachers, but only after the school was placed on lock-down for an unrelated incident – a strong-arm robbery in the area. The students mistakenly thought the lock-down was because of the hoax device, police said.
The school staff located the device and alerted the on-campus BSO school resource deputy, who determined that the device looked like with an explosive device. It was in plain view, not in a backpack or package, police said.
The 1,500 students at Millennium and 250 after care children from neighboring Challenger Elementary School were immediately evacuated to the Tamarac Aquatics Center.
“It appeared consistent with an explosive device so we needed to err on the side of safety, evacuate the students and call our BSO bomb squad in to make that determination,” Broward County Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Mike Jachles said.
The BSO Bomb Squad and Office of Homeland Security responded, along with Tamarac Fire Rescue and Broward School District safety personnel and police.
The boy was taken in for questioning from his Lauderhill home late this afternoon and charges were expected to be filed some time tonight, police said.
The boy and his parents were cooperating with the investigation and his name was not being released.
There were no injuries and the school was given the all-clear late this evening.