U. of Washington Hillel evacuated after fired worker’s explosive threat


SEATTLE (JTNews) — Hillel at the University of Washington was evacuated after a fired employee allegedly threatened to cause an explosion in the building.

Police shut down streets in Seattle’s University District Monday afternoon after receiving a call from employees about the threats. No one was injured.

Police believe the suspect was a custodian who had just been given notice of his termination and threatened to blow up the Jewish student building at the corner.

Rabbi Oren Hayon, the Hillel’s executive director, would not identify the suspect, but he told JTNews that “there was a credible enough threat that… a number of our staff knew to respond quickly.”

“We got emergency first responders on the scene immediately,” he said.

According to the Seattle Police Department, an employee followed the custodian into the building’s basement at approximately 1:45 p.m. after he suspected there may be a threat, saw the custodian begin to mix ammonia and bleach together, then evacuated the building.

Witt said she does not believe the threats had any anti-Semitic connotations, and the suspect apparently has a history of threatening suicide.

“I’m not concerned about anti-Israel or anti-Semitic overtones of the threat,” Hayon said.

According to the Seattle police blotter, the SWAT team found the suspect in Hillel’s basement and put him under arrest at 3 p.m. Monday afternoon.

Police did not initially release the suspect’s name. The suspect was taken to a hospital for treatment of chemical inhalation and was under observation for mental health issues.

Hillel staff returned to the building around 4 p.m. Monday.

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