Wednesday, September 7, 2011
A Navy corpsman accused of leaving a threatening note claiming he planted bombs at a nearby high school - which prompted officials to order students and staff to leave school buildings on the first day of classes - turned himself in at a Southern California military base Wednesday, authorities said.
Daniel Morgan, 22, surrendered at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base at around 1 p.m. Wednesday, Camp Pendleton Master Sgt. Mark Oliva said.
Morgan was last seen at the base at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino said. When he failed to show up for work Wednesday morning, his barracks were searched and a note was discovered, he said.
Morgan claimed in the note that he had placed explosive devices in and around San Clemente High School, which is located just a few miles from one of the gates to Camp Pendleton, Amormino said.
Soon after the note was found, about 3,200 students and 180 faculty members were told to leave the school's buildings. Students and staff waited on the school's football field - and later in the gymnasium, auditorium and other rooms - as bomb squads searched through buildings and classrooms. After about four hours, everyone was sent home.
"The campus is secure," Amormino said at around noon. "We have every available bomb-sniffing dog in the county here searching room by room."
No bombs had been found by late Wednesday afternoon. Also, officials didn't believe that any military-grade explosives were taken from the base, Marine Lt. Joshua Benson said.
"Right now all we know is there was threatening information on a piece of paper," he said.
Morgan was being interviewed by military authorities and could face a military charge of unauthorized absence after failing to report to duty, Oliva said.
"It's weird, you don't think someone who's supposed to be protecting our country would put all of our kids in danger," student Megan Lombardy told KCAL-TV.