Bomb scare on double-decker bus proves to be false

The bomb squad searched the bus for any sign of explosive threats but did not find any.
The bomb squad searched the bus for any sign of explosive threats but did not find any.
Updated: Jul. 23, 2020 at 1:10 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Tense moments unfolded in Gulfport as a bus was evacuated after a suspected bomb threat.

Authorities received a call around 11 from a passenger on the bottom level of the bus who reported overhearing another passenger say they had a bomb.

The person overheard, or thought they overheard a conversation where there could be an explosive device on the bus.,” said Capt. Johnny Poulos of the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

The Megabus was on I-10 at the time, traveling eastbound towards Atlanta from New Orleans. State troopers and local police departments worked together to re-route the bus off I-10 at the Lorraine-Cowan exit. It then headed north to First Baptist Church Gulfport on Hwy. 605.

“The passengers remained on the bus until the Biloxi Bomb Squad, along with a negotiator arrived on scene,” Poulos said. “After making contact with the individuals on the bus, each passenger came off the bus and was individually searched.”

A mother and her four children were among the 17 passengers who were instructed by police to leave the bus one at a time. as police took every precaution.

Police shut down traffic on Highway 605 from John Ross Road to Three Rivers Drive while authorities investigated. The church and a nearby construction site was also evacuated.

“They quickly came into the building, only office staff was here today at this moment, and requested that we leave the premises,” said Ben Sticker, Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church of Gulfport. “And they expediently got us off campus.”

Once the bus was emptied, six officers searched the bus to make sure no one was hiding on the bus. Then Biloxi Police’s bomb-sniffing dog Rex was sent aboard the bus to check for incendiary devices in and around the vehicle.

Nothing was found aboard the vehicle and traffic on Highway 605 was reopened shortly after.

Poulos said the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the FBI interviewed the subject that called in the threat.

“Everyone could definitely understand his concern, along with passengers,” he said. “I would think passengers were definitely concerned about their safety.”

Poulos said no charges would be filed in the incident.

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