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L.A. campus evacuated, but police find nothing

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By The Associated Press
Thursday, April 18, 2013, 8:03 p.m.

LOS ANGELES — The campus of California State University, Los Angeles, was evacuated on Thursday when someone telephoned a bomb threat, but a police search turned up nothing, authorities said.

University spokesman Paul Browning said the school's president ordered the evacuation as a precaution at noon.

The El Monte Police Department, in suburban Los Angeles, received 911 calls at 10:37 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. from payphones about a mile apart in the center of the city, said Sgt. Roger Cobian, a spokesman for the department.

“The caller in each said there were bombs at both Cal State LA and ‘Cal State Berkeley,' ” Cobian said. The department informed Cal State LA and the University of California, Berkeley, of the threats and then turned over the investigation to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Cobian said the department believes the same person made both calls and that the person was likely male.

It was not immediately clear what action officials took at the Berkeley campus, which is about 350 miles from Los Angeles, in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Los Angeles police spokesman Richard French said a bomb squad was dispatched to Cal State LA, but the search was called off at about 2:30 p.m.

The university east of downtown Los Angeles has about 20,000 students, though most aren't full-time.

Jon Beaupre, a journalism professor at Cal State LA, said the fire alarm went off at 12:15 p.m. in the middle of his lecture and the class followed normal evacuation procedures. When students arrived outside, they were told there was a bomb scare and the entire campus was being evacuated.

“That led to a mad dash, grabbing bags to get people out of here,” Beaupre said.

“Apparently we can get people out of the buildings, but getting traffic away from campus is not easy,” Beaupre said.

Two high schools also share Cal State LA's campus, and Beaupre said about 60 students could be seen milling around on a street corner after the evacuation.

Beaupre estimated that the evacuation involved about 8,000 students.

Browning said the university would likely not reopen Thursday.

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