Police say the phone threat came in around 4:45 p.m. Bomb dogs were called in to search the building.
A bomb threat forced evacuation Monday night of the Stroum Jewish Community Center on Mercer Island, according to police.
Mercer Island police Cmdr. Leslie Burns said a search of the building by two explosives-sniffing dogs turned up nothing suspicious. The building was cleared shortly before 10 p.m., she said.
The initial report came in around 4:45 p.m. after a threat was phoned in to the community center. Details of the threat were not released.
Initially, bad traffic hampered the response to the center but eventually officers from King County, Bellevue and Mercer Island helped evacuate roughly 250 people who were at the center, Burns said. The nearby French American School was also evacuated as a precaution, and neighbors were notified, according to police.
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Burns said the initial search involved a single dog and was “very slow going because of all the classrooms and nooks and crannies.” Eventually, a second bomb dog was brought in to assist in the search.
“Nothing has turned up suspicious,” she said.
Burns said Mercer Island police detectives were working with the FBI “to coordinate an investigation effort.”
The community center will open as usual Tuesday.
Ayn Dietrich-Williams, spokeswoman for the Seattle Office of the FBI, said agents were in touch with Mercer Island first responders.
“The FBI and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division are investigating possible civil rights violations in connection with threats to Jewish Community Centers across the country,” she said.
Burns said the city was prepared for the threat, and had discussed the possibility of threats to local Jews given “what has been happening elsewhere around the country.”
One witness, Darius Zoroufy, a physician at Swedish Medical Center, was in the neighborhood and posted video of the police response to his Facebook page. It showed several police cars blocking access to the center, which is on the north end of Mercer Island.
No injuries were reported.