Skip to comments.2 Arrested After Portsmouth Bus Bomb Threat
Posted on 05/07/2010 10:11:48 AM PDT by raccoonradio
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (WBZ) ―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.
>>Ferland would not reveal his name
>>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.
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.”
He didn’t understand there was a bus full of people scared spitless, trying to abandon ship? So he not only had a language problem, he was dumb as a sack of rocks?
Surely Chief Ferland jests.
So reading between the lines, they’re saying that two guys on the bus misinterpreted (or made up) this threat and the shirtless guy is innocent?
If that’s the case, then watch for this to be blasted all over the media as an example of “backlash” against “peaceful” Muslims.
Hey, we’re brutal bastards here in AmeriKa right...?
>Two people are scheduled for arraignment Friday on charges related to a Thursday 911 call about a possible explosive device on a Greyhound bus and a massive 9-hour police response that followed. Portsmouth Police Chief Lou Ferland told the Herald Friday morning that no explosive was found on the bus and that there will be a hearing today scheduled for 1:30 p.m., according to Portsmouth District Court related to the incident.
The last bus passenger was taken into police custody at about 8:40 p.m. Thursday, nine hours after the 911 call crippled much of the city’s downtown.
No one was injured, but one passenger was transported by ambulance for a medical condition.
The 911 call was made at about 11:17 a.m. when local police and firefighters responded to the area of the High-Hanover parking garage, where the Greyhound bus was surrounded by police, some from the roof of the city garage. Soon after, emergency responders began evacuating nearby businesses, in one instance by pulling a fire alarm at the 100 Market St. building. The city’s new reverse 911 phone system was activated to alert area residents and businesspeople to evacuate.
Ferland told the Herald at the scene there was a concern about a possible bomb on the bus that had stopped in Portsmouth while en route from Bangor, Maine, to Boston and New York City.
Local police were joined throughout the day by officers from Exeter, Seabrook, Epping, Hampton, Stratham, Rockingham County Sheriff’s Department, Seacoast Emergency Response Team (SERT), a K-9 unit from Dover, the N.H. State Police bomb disposal unit, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, immigration and customs officials, and the FBI. Even the Portsmouth animal control officer’s truck was parked in the area.
At approximately 12:30 p.m., an armored vehicle known as a Bearcat was called in from Rye. Exeter Police Chief Richard Kane and North Hampton Chief Brian Page stood by, while SWAT officers combed the area wearing riot gear and with rifles drawn. Exeter police sent a Special Operations Vehicle, and Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young arrived early afternoon, when she told the Herald she responded to ensure everyone in law enforcement had all the resources they needed.
About two hours after the 911 call, 16 of the passengers left the bus with their hands in the air, down the middle of Hanover Street and flanked by SWAT team members. Many were handcuffed, which Portsmouth Police Capt. Mike Schwartz described as a precaution.
He also stressed that police were not calling the scene a hostage situation.
“The call (from a passenger) to us was a concern based on an observation,” Schwartz said. “We’re making the situation as safe as possible.”
SERT members gathered the passengers in the parking garage before police transported them to the Portsmouth station, according to Schwartz.
Passengers were questioned for hours and eventually released, some of them to waiting family members and others boarded another Greyhound bus with an unknown destination.
At approximately 3:10 p.m., emergency officials inspected the bus with a motorized robotic device which, according to Schwartz, did not necessarily indicate the presence of a bomb, but contained audio and video capabilities that could be used for inspection. Approximately 20 armed responders were seen exiting a large N.H. Department of Safety vehicle and boarded another Greyhound bus that drove away from the scene. The state vehicle moved about the area and by early evening was parked close to the intersection of Hanover Street and Maplewood Avenue.
Portsmouth Mayor Tom Ferrini spoke with onlookers and advised that while the incident “was certainly an inconvenience,” the safety of residents and responders was of paramount concern. The Rev. Angelo Pappas, the Portsmouth Police and Fire Department chaplain, also was on scene.
Portsmouth Fire Chief Christopher LeClaire said his department provided standby ambulance service and was assisted by Dover, Hampton and Rye ambulances. City fire trucks were on hand and firefighters monitored the area around the bus for the presence of nuclear or biohazard materials, he said.
Downtown city streets were cordoned off, residents and many visitors were unable to access their cars, while the area was filled with law enforcement officers from around the state. A bank of media people lined Maplewood Avenue with cameras propped on tripods and lenses focused on the bus for hours on end.
Police cleared Hanover Street of onlookers and media late afternoon, while at least two state police robotic devices, equipped with audio and video equipment, were again mobilized to inspect the bus. Nine hours after the 911 call, some of the 17 bus passengers were released to family members at police headquarters following interviews by city police and FBI agents.
Gov. John Lynch’s office reported he was monitoring the situation from the Emergency Operations Center in Concord.
Must have been from Chicago.
I don’t understand why they took the bus passengers off in cuffs. This story is very bizarre.
B/c they could...its a good thing no dogs were involved.
And I don’t even have a rifle holster...