Bomb hoax forces evacuation of Oklahoma Capitol

More than 500 schoolchildren, attending a special event at the Oklahoma Capitol, were among more than 1,000 people ordered to leave the building Friday during a bomb threat. No arrests have been made.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT AND ZEKE CAMPFIELD Modified: February 1, 2013 at 10:23 pm •  Published: February 1, 2013
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“I guess it's a part of the memory,” said Kay Cho, as she stood outside watching a presentation to a group of students that included her son, Jonathan Kim, a student at Fisher Elementary School in Moore. “The kids are not complaining too much. … They're good troopers here.”

Cho said her daughter attended Colonial Day two years ago at the Capitol. Nothing out of the ordinary occurred then.

Many of the students were learning colonial dancing when the Capitol's public announcement system called for an evacuation.

“They just picked it up without missing a beat,” said Alice Graddy, a fifth-grade teacher from Adams Elementary School in Norman. “We just wish it was a little warmer outside.”

Parent volunteer Frederick Hart, whose son attends the same school, said he was concerned about the students' well-being. The students had been asked to leave their jackets and belongings on the bus, Hart said.

“I feel like my kid's going to get pneumonia before we go back into that building,” he said.

Some students were loaned jackets by employees of the state treasurer's office. About the time teachers began shepherding some students to buses, people were allowed back into the Capitol.

Chip Oppenheim, past president of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, said the evacuation was a disturbance event organizers had not considered. Nothing like this had ever happened during the annual field trip event at the Capitol, he said.

“They didn't have those back in Colonial days — not the big bombs,” he said.