Police detonated a “pressure cooker type device” outside of a Connecticut elementary school Aug. 30.
The school was ordered to shelter-in-place, but the police activity coincided with children arriving in buses to start the school morning, NBC Connecticut reported. The state police bomb squad was called in to handle the detonation.
Some parents were upset with how the school handled the situation.
“I was never notified by the school until I was standing in the doorway,” Mary Jordan told NBC Connecticut. “A text message with an automated message from the school.”
Those parents thought the idea of having the children in school, so close to where the pressure cooker was detonated, wasn’t the best option.
“They should’ve never been allowed into that school ever,” said a parent, via Fox 61.
A little before 10:30 a.m. the pressure cooker was detonated, 150 feet from the school, according to Fox 61. Jordan was in the supermarket parking lot with her daughter at the time. She spoke with reporters about the resulting blast.
“I grabbed my daughter. I came over here and I stood here. And only five minute later they told other parents that were standing there they could not go in. Because they were doing the contained detonation,” Jordan told NBC. “It was loud. I could only imagine how the kids in the school felt.”
The superintendent of Meriden Public Schools, Mark D. Benigni, said at a press conference that following the detonation that the only times they prevented parents from taking their children from the school was during the period of time authorities were directly dealing with the device.
He told the press that he was notified of the situation at 8:20 a.m., just after police found the device. He said that he still allowed children to enter the school through an alternate entrance, and kept them in areas of the school away from danger. He said that he and local, state, and federal authorities determined that would be the best option so as to avoid the chaos of turning busses and people around.
He said he understands the parents’ concern, but was still working with authorities to gather information at the time.
The Meriden Police Department Chief Jeffry Cossette also spoke at the same press conference and said that the school was deemed the safest place to be at the time.
“So everything worked exactly the way it was supposed to work. The kids were never in danger. Everything was done by the book,” Cossette said at the press event, via NBC.
In the initial 911 call a woman said she tried to alert the school, but no one answered the door. Then she tried to tell a crossing guard, but the guard didn’t have a phone. So she called 911 when she came home from her morning walk, according to a recording of the call, posted by Kevin Vellturo to Soundcloud.
Altered pressure cookers were used as explosive devices during the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. Police said the pressure cooker they found was not altered to act as a bomb, according to the Hartford Courant.