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Los Angeles HBCU medical school shut down due to bomb threats

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A bomb threat led to campus closure at Charles R. Drew University in Willowbrook, Calif., on Tuesday, but luckily no incendiary devices were found. 

According to reports, the medical campus of the historically Black college and university received the threat via email early Sunday, but it wasn’t until Tuesday when officials discovered the message, as it was sent to a generic email address, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Charles R. Drew University / Official website

The bomb threat came from someone claiming to be a “white, male, neo-Nazi fascist” who “planted three titanium nitrite sulfuric bombs around the eastern and northern parts of campus,” the Times writes. 

“I want to show the Black population what the white man can do, we will take back our land!” the threat said, noting that the bombs were set to detonate at 1 p.m. Sunday.

The email threat was sent “to a generic university email address” of the school’s president, David M. Carlisle, according to Jonathan Zaleski, director of communications.

“Out of an abundance of caution, CDU immediately closed the entire campus and notified authorities,” Zaleski said. “The safety of the campus is currently being assessed. The campus will remain closed until it is determined that it is safe to reopen.”

A majority of the students and campus faculty at Charles Drew University are people of color. The university was named after Dr. Charles R. Drew, a renowned Black surgeon from the early and mid-20th century who served as chair of surgery at Howard University. 

Charles Drew University opened in 1966 and has since graduated more than 600 physicians, 1,225 physician assistants, nearly 1,600 medical professionals and over 1,300 nursing professionals.

Last summer, the university received $5 million from the L.A. Care Health Plan for a new medical school program in South Los Angeles called the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU).

The CDU is dedicated to training medical students from under-resourced communities.

This week’s menacing email message to Charles R. Drew University is the latest in a string of bomb threats sent to eight HBCU campuses, including Howard University in Washington, D.C., and Xavier University in Louisiana. 

“We’re still doing an investigation as far as who may be responsible, but nothing significant at this point,” said Sgt. Ronnie Borges with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. 

Last week, the campus at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif. was evacuated following a bomb threat. According to the LA Times, police used K9 units to search the 420-acre campus, but nothing was found. The campus, which reportedly serves 50,000 students, was evacuated on Jan. 4 and in-person classes were canceled for the day.

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