A charter school, a behavioral health center and other businesses in a central neighborhood were evacuated Thursday after a suspicious backpack was reported in a parking lot, Tucson police said. The bag turned out to contain clothing.
Just after 1:30 p.m., a passerby saw an unattended backpack on the ground between two cars at HOPE Inc. (Helping Ourselves Pursue Enrichment), 1200 N. Country Club Road, one block north of East Speedway, said Sgt. Chris Widmer, a Tucson Police Department spokesman.
Students at nearby AmeriSchools, a kindergarten through eighth-grade charter school, were evacuated to Himmel Park where their parents picked them up at the end of the school day, Widmer said.
An explosives ordnance team used a device to tear open the backpack, which contained clothing and personal belongings, Widmer said.
Detectives talked to witnesses and will pull video from area businesses to try and determine if someone left the backpack accidentally in the lot, or if the incident was a hoax, said Widmer.
“If someone commits this type of a hoax, they potentially can face prison time and be ordered to pay restitution to the emergency response units,” Widmer said.
Anyone who has information about the incident is asked to call 911 or 88-CRIME.