UPDATE at 1 p.m.: The suspicious bag left on a King County Metro bus that caused passengers to be evacuated and businesses to be shut down in Kent this morning contained a dummy pipe bomb left over from a drill last week, according to the sheriff’s office.
“It was our mistake,” said sheriff’s spokeswoman Sgt. DB Gates. “All we can do now is apologize for how that went down and change our protocol.”
The sheriff’s office staged a training drill using Metro buses last week, she said.
They were supposed to have double- and triple-checked the buses to make sure all the fake devices were removed after the drill, she said. But that apparently failed to happen.
A spokesman for King County Metro said it appears the coach in question was not in use over the past week, explaining why the training aid was only found today.
According to Gates, a passenger got on the Route 161 bus shortly before 7:45 a.m. and looked inside a bag on the bus. He saw the training device, made to look like a real pipe bomb, she said.
The passenger did “exactly what he was supposed to do” and reported the device to the bus driver, who also acted correctly by calling police and evacuating the bus at 104th Avenue Southeast just north of Southeast 240th Street, Gates said.
It wasn’t until about 11:15 a.m. that the sheriff’s office learned that the device may have been left over from last week’s drill, she said.
“But we couldn’t just say it’s a fake device,” she said. Protocols still had to be observed and the device had to be treated as if it were a potential threat, she said.
“It’s embarrassing. We know it’s inconvenienced a lot of people and we don’t take it lightly,” she said. “We’re more than willing to throw ourselves on our sword for this one.”
Original post: A King County sheriff’s bomb squad is investigating a suspicious bag found on a Metro bus in Kent.
A passenger reported the bag to the bus driver around 7:50 a.m. Metro Transit police, Kent police and the sheriff’s bomb squad were called out and the bus was evacuated, according to sheriff’s spokeswoman Sgt. DB Gates.
The bus is located in the East Hill neighborhood in Kent at Southeast 240th Street and 104th Avenue South. The road will be closed for at least 90 minutes while the bag is inspected, the sheriff’s office said.
This post will be updated.