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Bomb threat near city hall leads to lockdown of area
A suspect has been taken into custody
UPDATE -- 4:42 p.m. -- A bomb threat Friday morning at a health clinic across the street from Yuma City Hall resulted in a lockdown of the area and measures to ensure the safety of people in both buildings.
Yuma Police Department received a call at 10:10 a.m. of a bomb threat involving Mountain Health and Fitness Clinic at 290 S. 1st Ave. just west of Yuma City Hall, reported Master Police Officer Cruz Vidal.
The suspect, 48-year-old Benjamin Martinez of Yuma, threatened to cause an explosion in the building. As Martinez exited the building he was taken into police custody. The building was evacuated and the area was secured.
Vidal said no injuries were reported as a result of the evacuation and the initial inspection of the building revealed no suspicious items.
The YPD Special Enforcement Team was later assisted by Marine Corps Air Station Yuma Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team K-9 and the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office Explosive Ordinance Team in a detailed search of the building and the surrounding area.
During the search, the surrounding streets were blocked and the building was evacuated for about two hours as the search was completed. Clinic employees and patients who couldn’t get to their cars were taken to Yuma City Hall for their comfort and safety, said Martha Guzman, city spokeswoman.
While there, the city provided them with food and water.
In addition, an email went out to all city employees advising them to not use the building’s west exit. Also, employees in the west wing of Yuma City Hall were asked to temporarily relocate to another part of the building as a precautionary measure, Guzman said.
Yuma Union High School District Superintendent Toni Badone said that YPD was in communication with Yuma High School to make school officials aware of the threat, but a school lockdown wasn’t necessary.
Yuma Elementary District 1 officials also confirmed that their schools were not affected.
Guzman said the incident immediately gained a lot of attention, with a number of postings on social media sites by people who wanted to know what was happening.
Martinez will be booked into the Yuma County Detention Center on charges of hoax and disorderly conduct.
Yuma Sun Writer Sarah Womer contributed to this report.