Southwestern College Evacuated; Campus Police Later Say No Threat Exists

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Southwestern College. Courtesy of the college

Classes at all Southwestern College campuses were canceled Thursday and its locations in Chula Vista, Otay Mesa, National City, San Ysidro and Coronado were evacuated amid report of a student violence threat, officials said.

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The evacuations were reported around 9:15 a.m. for the Chula Vista campus on Otay Lakes Road while campus police investigated “a credible threat,” the college tweeted.

At 2:30 p.m. the college said a person of interest in the evacuation and college closing had been contacted by Southwestern College police, who with others determined there was no threat.

The college will reopen Friday and resume classes and normal business operations at all campuses.

“If anybody needs to return to the Chula Vista campus Thursday to retrieve their vehicle, they can enter through the H Street entrance,” said college spokeswoman Lillian Leopold. “We thank all students and employees for remaining calm during the evacuation.”

The threat was overheard in a class Wednesday night by another student, who relayed that information to authorities early Thursday, Leopold said. She did not elaborate on the nature of the threat other than to say it was a threat of violence.

Southwestern College’s Higher Education Centers in Otay Mesa, National City and San Ysidro were also closed and evacuated as well as its Crown Cove Aquatic Center in Coronado, according to the college.

Campus officials were working with the Metropolitan Transit Service to increase the lines that service Southwestern College, and campus police were working to direct traffic in the parking lot of its Chula Vista campus to speed up the evacuation process, the college tweeted.

College spokeswoman Leopold issued a statement of gratitude.

“We … want to thank our first responders at Chula Vista police and fire departments and the San Diego Sheriff’s Department for working with us,” she said. “We want to thank the Metropolitan Transit System for dispatching additional buses to help in the evacuation. We want to thank our community and educational partners, including the media, for helping us keep our community informed.”

Updated at 2:50 p.m. Sept. 6, 2018

— City News Service contributed to this report.

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