Bomb threat at under-construction bridge housing facility under investigation
By Sam Catanzaro
Police continue to investigate several explosive-like devices that were found at the site of a 154-bed homeless shelter set to open soon in Venice.
“Until arrests are made, a motive cannot be determined – but authorities are investigating whether the bridge housing was a target, and are seeking the public’s help in the investigations,” said Los Angeles Councilmember Mike Boin who represents Venice.
According to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Media Relations Division, the devices that were found in the area of Main Street and Rose Avenue in Venice Thursday night were facsimile devices.
The Santa Monica Mirror has reached out to the LAPD asking if there is any evidence that the incident was an attempted attack on the bridge housing center but they could not immediately be reached for comment.
While the LAPD would not provide more information about the incident, in statement Bonin said that there were three separate devices.
“While they were apparently designed to look like explosive devices, LAPD’s bomb squad determined that none of them contained the necessary fuel to cause an explosion. LAPD removed the devices, conducted a safety sweep of the area, reopened streets, and allowed people back into their homes,” Bonin said.
The items were first reported to the LAPD around 6 p.m. Thursday and forced evacuations at Pacific Avenue and Main Street from Rose Avenue to Brooks Avenue. The LAPD Bomb Squad was on the scene as authorities investigated the package. By 10:30 p.m. police had let residents return to their homes.
The lot the devices were found at was a 3.15-acre lot that takes up an entire block between Pacific Avenue and Main Street south of Sunset Avenue that will soon be a 154-bed bridge housing center set to open in the coming months. The project has been the subject of legal action and pushback from opponents who think the shelter will disrupt the neighborhood. Bonin, in his statement, suggested that the facsimile devices could have been an intended attack on this shelter.
“This is an appalling incident perpetrated by a disturbed and cowardly person or persons. If it was meant to slow or halt progress on providing bridge housing, it failed. It is unacceptable and inhumane for people to be living and dying in sidewalk encampments in our neighborhoods. It is imperative that we get people off the streets. We will not be intimated, and we will not back down from providing solutions to our homelessness crisis,” Bonin said.
This story is still developing and will be updated as more information becomes available.