Skip to comments.Source: NH bus bomb scare a misunderstanding
Posted on 05/07/2010 8:43:21 AM PDT by raccoonradio
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. The passenger at the center of a daylong bomb scare on a Greyhound bus in Portsmouth, N.H., was a foreign national who was too scared to get off the bus, a person with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press on Friday.
The person, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said the bomb scare was sparked by another passenger who called 911 believing a non-English-speaking rider had mentioned a bomb.
The 911 call around 11:15 a.m. Thursday prompted authorities to evacuate buildings and streets and to surround the bus with a bomb squad and sharpshooters. The other 16 passengers and the driver got off safely, but the non-English-speaking man refused to leave until about 8:40 p.m.
He emerged from the bus shirtless and in camouflage pants, with his hands held high over his head. He then went to his knees before soon getting up and appearing to follow orders from police to walk away from the bus.
He was taken into custody and was being questioned, but the case is not terrorism-related, Portsmouth Police Chief David Ferland said at a late-night news conference during which he refused to answer questions. U.S. Attorney John Kacavas said the passenger was from Africa.
The person familiar with the investigation said the passenger is unlikely to face criminal charges. No explosives were found on the bus, which began its trip in Bangor, Maine, made a scheduled stop in Portsmouth and was en route to Boston and then New York.
More information was expected to be released at a midday news conference.
Several federal agencies had responded to the scene. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Harold Ort said only that there was an "ongoing issue" and that ICE was helping the investigation.
Throughout the day, police kept the curious at a distance and gave little information of what was happening. They said they established a way to communicate with the remaining passenger but wouldnt give details.
Passenger Danielle Everett, 20, of Poland, Maine, said she didnt see anything suspicious on the bus.
"It really wasnt any big deal," said Everett, who was met at the Portsmouth police station by her concerned father.
Of course. Foreign nationals who wear camoflage, talk about bombs, and disrupt transportation networks are not the droids were looking for.
Times Square bomb, a misunderstanding, too, huh?
Yeah, right. He was “too scared”. Everyone else gets off the bus, but him??? What did he think was going on? Give me another story.
And, why didn’t they go on the bus and take him off?
Bangor .....I dont even know her !
FOX just reported that the woman that called 911 heard this guy say “bomb”....now, all of a sudden he can’t speak English....someone on the bus should have slapped the crap out of him just for the h*ll of it....
Yeah, that’s what I was wondering. It doesn’t sound like they tried the simple step of sending an officer into the bus, walking normally and not pointing a gun, to just ask the guy why he wasn’t getting off discover he didn’t speak English and didn’t understand what was going on, and just motion to him to come out. Being surrounded by a SWAT team when you have no idea why could cause anyone to become paralyzed with fear.
All that had to happen was for one cop to go on board and get this dude off. I consider this a gross over-reaction on the part of the Police and any costs are theirs to bear. They "controlled" the situation, right?
When you are surrounded by authority figures with lots of guns pointing at you, you wait for instructions. Otherwise, you get shot.
“a foreign national”
Well, heavens forbid that we should indulge in hate thinking or profiling, but curious minds want to know.
What country is this person a “national” of?
Don’t these reporters realize that readers are curious? In a sense it doesn’t matter, but I remember a time when we could have said this was a dumb kraut or a crazy frog eater, or whatever, and that would have been taken in the humerous spirit in which it was intended. The frog eaters had equally humorous slang about us. Now I can hardly say it without sounding like a bigot.
Now it’s just close down your mind and shut up, or you’ll be arrested for a thought crime. But was this a Somali, a Muslim, a frightened South Sea Islander, a tourist from Prague, or what?
UPDATE from CBS Boston
Two people have been arrested in connection with a daylong bomb scare on a Greyhound bus in Portsmouth, N.H.
John Smolens of Lewiston, Maine was tasered and charged with resisting arrest after police say he refused to obey orders from the SWAT team during the evacuation Thursday.
Calvin Segar of Brooklyn, New York was charged with two counts of obstruction for lying to authorities.
Both will be arraigned in Portsmouth Friday afternoon.
The bomb scare began Thursday morning when a passenger overheard a man speaking a foreign language on a cell phone, police said.
The passenger then heard someone on the other end of the phone say — in English — that there was a bomb on board and decided to call 911, authorities said.
The 911 call was made around 11:15 a.m., prompting authorities to evacuate buildings and streets and to surround the bus with a bomb squad and sharpshooters.
16 passengers and the driver got off safely, but the man whose phone conversation prompted the scare refused to leave.
Portsmouth Police Chief David Ferland said that man was from Burundi, Africa and was too frightened.
“I do not know the reasons why he was nervous with police,” Ferland said.
“He comes from a different country. We are trained to understand that people react differently.”
Ferland would not reveal his name, but he told reporters at a late morning news conference that the man is legally allowed in be in the United States and that part of the problem was a language barrier because he spoke Swahili.
The bus was searched and no bomb or weapons were found.
“It was not a terrorist-related event,” Ferland said.
Maybe Muslim, maybe not. The Muslim population in Burundi is probably around 10%, although some say less.