Virginia State Police investigate bomb threat at Sadler Center, threat determined to be unfounded


Editor’s note: This is an ongoing story and will continue to be updated as new information becomes available. Last updated Dec. 8 at 6:17 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 8, at approximately 10:50 a.m., the Sadler Center was evacuated due to an alleged bomb threat. A few minutes later, WMPD also evacuated students and employees from the McLeod Tyler Wellness Center, Cohen Career Center and Aromas Daily Grind. 

The bomb threat originated from a student’s post that was published on their personal Twitter account and onto a popular Facebook group for students “Swampy Memes for Twampy Teens.” The meme, which was uploaded the night before, featured a picture of the student at the construction site with a text overlay that wrote that the student had snuck onto the Sadler construction site to set off a bomb.

As a precaution, the Sadler Center, McLeod Tyler Wellness Center, Cohen Career Center and Aromas Daily Grind have been evacuated while campus authorities look into a safety concern reported at the Sadler Center construction site,” the TribeAlert that was sent to all students and faculty at 11:33 a.m. read. “There is no imminent threat to campus, but please avoid the area. We will update the campus when those locations reopen. The siren you may have heard around 11:15 a.m. is not related. That was a test of the Surry siren.”

WMPD closed the area around the Sadler Center, and Newport News Police and the Virginia State Police were called in to help investigate the threat. The state police’s bomb dog unit assessed the area and did not find any evidence of the threat. 

“The report has been determined to be unfounded,” read the final TribeAlert at 1:11 p.m.. “While the incident is still under investigation, a person of interest has been identified and interviewed.”

The Sadler Center will reopen for dinner. 

Update: Barrett Smith ’23 has been charged with a felony for the bomb threat. Read here at


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