TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Around 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Terre Haute Police Department had requested assistance from the Indiana State Police Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team after two suspicious items were found.
During a press conference with Terre Haute Police Department Assistant Chief Shawn Keen and Vigo County School Corporation Superintendent Danny Tanoos, Keen stated a worker at Collett Park had discovered an item which “appeared suspicious in nature.”
That worker had then transported the item in a utility vehicle to the Maple Avenue Nature Park and after looking at the item, contacted police. When officers arrived on the scene, they notified Ouabache Elementary. The elementary then went on lock-down and students were moved to the south side of the elementary as a precaution.
An officer was sent back to Collett Park to check the area where a second device was found.
ISP EOD personnel were on scene assessing the situation and were investigating the items to see what they were and if they were harmful or not. Indiana State Police Sgt. Joe Watts stated the two devices found were less than 10 inches in length.
News 10’s Lindsey Yates reported around 12:50 p.m. ISP Bomb Squad Technician Chad Hilton had successfully “dismantled the suspicious device” located closest to the school. Then, around 1 p.m., Yates reported the second device had been successfully dismantled. Hilton described the devices as two homemade bombs each with a radius of 50 yards.
Indiana State Police Sgt. Watts said that parents should not be concerned for the safety of the children located at Ouabache Elementary.
“The school is taking the appropriate steps and evacuated to the rear most part of the building,” Watts explained. “Fire department is on scene, Terre Haute Police Department are on scene.. multiple agencies are on scene.. but right now just remain calm and let us do our work and we’ll find out what these devices are.”
During the joint press conference, Tanoos echoed that statement stating the school corporation was immediately informed and took quick action.
“There was never an immediate cause for concern or danger to the school,” Tanoos explained.
Ouabache Elementary officials sent out this message Tuesday morning in regards to the lock-down:
“This morning we were notified by the Terre Haute City Police that there was a suspicious item found at the far east end of Maple Avenue Nature Park. As a precaution, Ouabache has gone on a ‘Code Yellow’ alert and we are following school corportation protocol at this time. All educational programming has continued and all students remain safe at this time. We are not and have not been under any direct threat. Again, it is a police matter that is taking place across the street from our school. I will give you notification when this situation has cleared and again, all is safe at Ouabache.”
Police had also cleared out the area of Collett Park and the THPD K-9 Unit was on the scene.
Officials searched the area for anything else suspicious. Ouabache Elementary resumed normal activity and was dismissing students as normal.