Following one phone call, 3,800 students were evacuated from seven Claremore schools.
Hours after the call was made, an arrest had been made of a woman who said she was “testing police response.”
A call came in to the high school from a blocked number around 10:44 a.m. Tuesday. The caller, an adult female, attempted to disguise her voice, according to Claremore Police Department.
“The caller said there were numerous bombs in backpacks at the high school, and numerous bombs at elementary schools,” said Deputy Chief Steve Cox.
School administrators were notified and immediately began going through their established procedures.
Schools were evacuated and swept by bomb technicians and K9s.
“It was about 9 p.m. when we cleared the seventh and final school,” Cox said. “At that point, our investigators were already developing a suspect and working towards an arrest.”
Investigators determined that the suspect, 48-year old Stephanie Montgomery, was a Claremore resident.
“We want to let people know if they think they can do this by simply blocking their number, they are sadly mistaken,” Cox said.
“Investigators went to talk to her at her home and she confessed to making the bomb threat,” Cox said. “We’re still investigating but we don’t find that she has any ties to the school. We don’t know exactly why, other than she said she was angry and that she was testing the response of the police department.”
Montgomery was booked into the Rogers County Jail for making “terroristic threats,” a felony, just before midnight. It is now up to the district attorney’s office to file charges.
In the midst of this, Chief Stan Brown said he saw a community rally together.
“Montgomery’s actions caused significant disruption to the peace, safety and stable learning environment of our students. Her careless, criminal actions resulted in the needless expenditure of resources of public safety, school staff and working parents,” Brown said.
He said they received assistance from Oklahoma Highway Patrol bomb squad and K9 officers, Tulsa Police Department bomb squad and K9 officers, Claremore Fire Department, Rogers County Sheriff’s Office and the Rogers County District Attorney investigators.
He said a thorough security sweep conducted by these teams found no threatening devices.
“I am proud of the response of all school staff, law enforcement officers and a multitude of unnamed individuals and organizations who donated time, effort, food and resources to successfully and safely bring this event to closure. Many organizations in our community stepped up with minimum noticed and helped out,” Brown said. “They include Rick Reimer and Northeast Tech of Claremore, Pastor Randy Swift of First Baptist Church, Cedar Point Church, First United Methodist Church, Red Cross, the city park’s department community center staff, parents, and business owners and others who brought food and drink to the children throughout the event.”
Brown added, “We are blessed to live in a community where people come together in a time of crisis to work and sacrifice for the greater good.”