Police arrested a former employee of a Jewish student center Monday after the man threatened to blow up the Hillel Foundation for Jewish Life at the University of Washington, authorities said.
Police shut down streets surrounding the University District center after Hillel employees called to report that the man “threatened to mix toxic chemicals to cause an explosion in the building,” according to the Seattle Police Department website.
Shortly before 2 p.m., the suspect made the threat in the Hillel center’s basement, authorities said. An employee who heard the threat went upstairs, alerted others in the building and called police. One estimate was that there were between 10 and 30 students and staff in the building at the time.
While one staff member was on the phone with authorities, another cleared the building of students.
The suspect had recently been fired from his job at the center, and “after the termination he returned to the building, came in, made some threats,” Seattle police spokesman Mark Jamieson told reporters. “Then he immediately went down to the basement where he began mixing some chemicals.”
Norm Arkans, associate vice president for media relations and communications at the university, said that “disgruntled is a fair word” to describe the man who was arrested.
Arkans also noted that although Hillel is “a recognized student organization,” it is not a university group. It is located a couple of blocks off campus.