A civilian man with no military affiliation is in custody after making a bomb threat that turned out to be a hoax at Joint Base Andrews on Friday.
“An individual in a vehicle drove up to the main gate of Joint Base Andrews around 4:45 p.m. and told base security forces that he had a bomb in his vehicle,” Zack Baddorf, a spokesperson for Air Force’s 316th Wing, which operates the base, told The Epoch Times in an email.
After the man was taken into custody, bomb-sniffing dogs did an initial sweep of the vehicle but did not find anything relevant, Baddorf said. Then a U.S. Air Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team deployed an EOD robot that checked the tan-colored sedan for an explosive device. This check was subsequently followed up by an EOD team member who investigated the vehicle wearing a protective suit.
Baddorf confirmed in an updated email statement on Friday night that no explosive device was found in the vehicle. “Security forces have given the all clear in response to the situation,” he said.
“We take every threat seriously,” said Col. Tyler Schaff, commander of Joint Base Andrews and the 316th Wing. “Our team took every precaution to keep our airmen and their families safe.”
Earlier, the base’s main gate was shut down and the man taken into custody and questioned by base security forces and partner law enforcement agencies, Baddorf said. The rest of the base, which is home to Air Force One, the aircraft that carries the president, remained operational.
“Our first responders responded exceptionally well to today’s incident. I am very proud of their efforts to resolve the situation and to keep our base safe and secure,” Schaff said. “I’m also thankful for the exemplary support that we received from our off-base partners, including federal law enforcement.”
Partner law enforcement agencies from Prince George County shut down traffic on Allentown Road outside the main gate to assist with the incident. Prince George County police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations and base security forces are jointly looking into the situation, Baddorf said.
Earlier this year, an intruder gained access to Joint Base Andrews on Feb. 4, walked around for several hours and accessed military aircraft, WUSA9 reported. On that occasion, a sharp-eyed airmen reported the individual, who was reportedly wearing a bright red or pink cap, because he didn’t seem to fit.
“To be frank, I’m just being honest, we had no idea we had an unauthorized civilian on the base,” Sami Said, the Air Force inspector general, told reporters at the time. “He could have roamed around for a lot longer had it not been for that particular airman that figured out he doesn’t quite fit.”
This situation is developing. Check back for updates.