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UPDATE: Student charged for bomb scare at a Lynchburg school

A 14-year-old student is facing charges.

November 29, 2012|Tim Saunders/WDBJ7 Web Staff
  • A bomb was found inside a Lynchburg alternative school Thursday morning.

LYNCHBURG, Va. — Police have charged the 14-year-old student who brought a bomb to Rivermont School on Thursday. 

He's now facing three charges: One felony count for having the device, one misdemeanor charge for threatening to damage a building, and and another misdemeanor charge for having a weapon on school property.

Police are calling it a "chemical bomb," but they won't tell us what kind of chemical was used.

It was a small device, about the size of a two-liter soda bottle, and police say it could have done a fair amount of damage.

Investigators say a 14-year-old student brought the bomb to school.

A staff member saw it and alerted a school administrator, who took it outside the building.

Lynchburg police were contacted about the bomb around 7:45 a.m. Thursday morning.

They alerted fire and haz-mat workers and Virginia State Police, who showed up and disabled the device.

As a precaution, police evacuated more than 70 students and staff members.


"Any time these types of devices are found in the city, we're very concerned for the public's safety,” Ryan Zuidema of the Lynchburg Police Department said. “We certainly wanted to have a very quick response over here and our main concern wasn't necessarily the device as much as getting some of the people out of harms way so that we could deal with the device."

The boy who brought the bomb to school has been taken into police custody.

Detectives have been questioning him, and they don’t have any reason to believe he had help making the device or bringing it to school.

Police have asked the boy about his motives, but at this point they're not saying what they might have learned about his intentions.

Neighbors describe evacuation

A visit from police is not the way Carolyn Wynn wanted to start her Thursday.

"(Officers) knocked and said, I don't mean to alarm you but they have a bomb threat at the school right here," Wynn said Thursday afternoon.

She lives right across from the Rivermont School.  When officers told her to evacuate, she didn't ask questions.

"What are you going to do? Wait around to see if they get the person who had the bomb? Wait for the bomb to explode?" Wynn asked mockingly.  "It's time to leave!"

There was no explosion, but officers say the device could have caused a fair amount of damage.

"It definitely could have hurt people, had anyone been in the immediate area, but
it's not something that would have destroyed the building," said Zuidema.

Larry McGlothlin is a doctor at Lynchburg Chiropractic Center, one of five businesses near the Rivermont School that was evacuated.

"As a precaution they thought we should leave the building, so we did," McGlothlin said, adding that he and his staff "went and had a nice breakfast."

Most evacuees were back in the neighborhood by lunchtime.


Virginia State Police have disabled a chemical bomb brought to a Lynchburg alternative school by a 14-year-old student.

Police say the device could have done damage, but it likely would not have destroyed the building.

The 14-year-old student is in custody. It’s not clear why the student brought the bomb to the Rivermont School.

A total of 56 students and 21 staff were evacuated from the Rivermont School. The Rivermont School is run by Centra. Businesses in the area were also evacuated.

Investigators have not said what type of what type of chemical the bomb was made out of.


Several police agencies are on scene at the Rivermont School in Lynchburg.

Investigators tell WDBJ7's Tim Saunders that a 14-year-old brought a chemical bomb to the school.

The Rivermont School is an alternative school run by Centra.

Virginia State Police, the Lynchburg Police Department, and the Lynchburg Fire Department are all on scene.

Virginia State Police disable bomb at Lynchburg school
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