School evacuated after `hoax' bomb confiscated

Hamilton Middle pupil showed device to friends

April 26, 2001|By Caitlin Francke and Tom Pelton | Caitlin Francke and Tom Pelton,SUN STAFF

A Northeast Baltimore middle school was evacuated yesterday afternoon after a seventh-grade pupil was discovered with what police called a "hoax" bomb device.

The 12-year-old boy was showing the device to friends at Hamilton Middle School, and one of them became nervous and told a school police officer, who confiscated the device from the boy, police said.

Investigators with the city police bomb squad discovered that the device was a small plastic container with wires wrapped around it and a battery attached. It was partially filled with about a shot glass of ammonia, authorities said.

Police described it as a "hoax" bomb because it was not put together in such a way that would have caused it to explode.

Authorities charged the boy with possessing a phony explosive device after bringing him and his parents to police headquarters for questioning.

"Apparently, the 12-year-old brought the device to school just to show it off," said Kevin Enright, a spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department. "But some of the other kids told the school police, and the school was evacuated."

School officials sent pupils home about 12:30 p.m.

Bomb squad officers destroyed the device and combed the building to make sure it was safe.

Authorities did not release the name of the boy because of his age, said Leonard Hamm, school police chief.

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