[UPDATE; 2:05 p.m.]: San Marcos High School is no longer on lockdown and the Turnpike Shopping Center is back open after the Sheriff’s bomb squad searched the teen’s vehicle and found no dangerous devices. They did, however, find what appeared to be replica grenades and an airsoft pistol with its distinctive orange tip removed.
Hoover said the 16-year-old is detained and undergoing a mental evaluation. She declined to release any more details on his encounters with Washington state law enforcement, his relationship to Santa Barbara, or how he was tracked to the shopping center. The investigation into the incident remains ongoing, she said.
[UPDATE, 12:43 p.m.]: Barbara Keyani, spokesperson for the Santa Barbara Unified School District, said she’s been on and off the phone with San Marcos’s principal since the incident began. Students have been given the authorization to use the restroom with an escort, she said, and school officials are monitoring their food needs. Callouts have been made to parents, Keyani went on, and more information on the situation will be posted on the school’s website as it becomes available.
[ORIGINAL REPORT]: A bomb threat made by a troubled teen this morning at the Vons grocery store off Hollister Avenue in Goleta has led to the lockdown of San Marcos High School and the evacuation of all the businesses in the Turnpike Shopping Center. The teen has been detained and is currently being questioned.
Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Kelly Hoover said that Washington state authorities contacted Santa Barbara law enforcement agencies at around 8:30 a.m. with a request to help locate an at-risk missing juvenile who may have traveled to the South Coast area. The 16-year-old reportedly has ties to Santa Barbara County, but what those connections are remains unclear.
Sheriff’s deputies tracked the teen to the Vons grocery store where they attempted to make contact. The juvenile, however, “made allegations that there were explosives in his car,” explained Hoover, and so the evacuation and lockdown procedures were carried out as a precaution. The teen’s car, a white Honda Pilot, remains parked in the shopping center’s parking lot. A bomb squad is currently en route.
Check back for updates.