March 2, 2007 / 12:21 AM / 12 years ago

Columbine High School evacuated in bomb hoax

DENVER (Reuters) - An unidentified male seeking media attention made several hoax bomb threats on Thursday to Columbine High School, scene of the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, forcing police to evacuate the students.

Faculty and staff return to Columbine High School after being evacuated because of a bomb threat at the school in Littleton, Colorado March 1, 2007. REUTERS/Rick Giase

Bomb squads conducted repeated sweeps of the school with bomb-sniffing dogs but found no evidence of explosives, Jefferson County Sheriff’s spokesman Jim Shires said. Shires said he did not know the nature of the threats because the caller did not speak to police.

“He wanted media attention. He asked that CNN come out,” Shires told Reuters. No arrest was immediately made in the threats but Shires said: “If we find out who it is they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

The school, which excused classes and its 1,700 students for the day, was expected to reopen on Friday morning.

Columbine High School students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and a teacher during a shooting rampage at the suburban Colorado school on April 20, 1999.

The teens then turned the guns on themselves, bringing the death toll to 15 and making it the deadliest shooting incident ever at a U.S. school.

The unidentified male phoned in the threat to the Columbine High School office at about 9:30 a.m. local time (1630 GMT) and subsequently made several more calls, Jefferson County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Jacki Kelley said.

“I am not in the position to be specific but some of the content (of the call) was disturbing,” Kelley said.

She said Columbine gets numerous threats but that the school was evacuated because of the disturbing nature of Thursday’s calls.

The 1999 Columbine shooting stunned much of the United States and prompted a debate over gun control, violence in schools and the influence of violent video games on children.

Harris and Klebold were fascinated by guns, explosives and violent video games and had carefully planned their attack on Columbine.

Additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles

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