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6 Hampton Roads colleges, universities receive bomb threats

It isn't certain whether or not the incidents are connected, at this time.

NORFOLK, Va. — Multiple Hampton Roads colleges and universities received bomb threats on Tuesday, officials confirmed.

Regent University, Tidewater Community College, Norfolk State University, Virginia Peninsula Community College, Eastern Shore Community College and Paul D. Camp Community College all investigated threats. 

Regent University in Virginia Beach was ordered to evacuate. 

The Virginia Beach Police Department confirmed that Regent received a bomb threat, and police were searching the campus. Shortly after 12:30 p.m., Regent's website listed an alert asking people to evacuate the campus until further notice. The university got an all-clear around 1:10 p.m.

"After a thorough sweep of the campus, the Regent University campus is clear and open," Spokesperson Chris Roslan said.

At TCC, a caller reported a bomb in a backpack at the Cedar Road campus at 11:21 a.m, according to the Chesapeake Fire Department.

Police and fire officials searched the area, but no bomb was found, and the scene was given an all-clear.

The next threat to come in was reported at Paul D. Camp Community College in Franklin at 11:26 a.m. Someone called police to say they'd found a bomb at the school.

A police spokesman said they evacuated campus buildings, and came through with explosive-sniffing dogs to search the area. The Virginia State Police helped scour campus. Officials gave the all-clear at 2:04 p.m.

Police at Virginia Peninsula Community College got a report of a bomb threat at its Hampton campus shortly after 12:15 p.m., the college said.

The Hampton Police Division and the Hampton Division of Fire & Rescue were notified, and a canine unit swept Hastings Hall.

No one was hurt or ever in danger and everyone was given an all-clear shortly after 2:15 p.m.

The Accomack County Sheriff's Office received a report at 1:13 p.m. of a potential explosive device on the second floor of the Eastern Shore Community College in Melfa.

When deputies arrived, they evacuated the building so they could assess the situation. Norfolk Police Department dogs that specialize in finding explosives searched the building at the ACSO's request. 

The dogs didn't find anything, and it was determined that the threat was a hoax, ACSO said. 

NSU sent out an alert stating the following around 1:17 p.m.  

"In reference to the bomb threat that Norfolk State University received, several law enforcement agencies responded along with bomb detection dogs, who conducted a search and yielded negative results. An all clear has been issued and all staff and students can resume normal operations and activities."

"I was just like 'here we go again,'" said NSU senior "Lenise Dupree, who learned of another bomb threat on her campus on Tuesday. 

Earlier this year, a series of historically Black colleges and universities — including NSU — received unfounded bomb threats.

"It's always the trending topic on my social media and stuff, too. I hate seeing it," Dupree added.

NSU officials said Norfolk FBI and the Norfolk Police Department are assisting campus police with their investigation. 

Retired law enforcement officer with decades of experience in public service, Kenny Miller, said it's more than likely that all agencies involved are responding with every valuable asset to keep each campus safe.

"This is probably an all-hands-on-deck. We won't see it from a public perspective because there's so much behind-the-scenes work going on right now," he said. 

TCC Criminal Justice Professor Dr. Antonio Passaro said police will leverage their resources — such as technology — to trace the source, "You can find it. You double back."

At this point, it's not clear whether the threats came from the same place. However, both men believe whoever's responsible will face great consequences.

"It's a serious crime. It's a felony," said Dr. Passaro. 

“Why do such a thing when our country is going through so much right now?” Miller posed. “They think that they’re winning. They’re not. Yes, it causes disruption. Yes, it causes fear. Yes, it causes slowdown. But it doesn’t cause a stop.”

Miller expressed belief in the resilience of students, staff and anyone using campuses this summer, in spite of the suspect or suspects' efforts. 

Law enforcement agencies urge anyone in the community with information about any of the threats made today to call 1-888-LOCK-U-UP. You can remain anonymous.

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