San Clemente High School was evacuated Wednesday morning after a Navy corpsman from Camp Pendleton went missing and left writings indicating that he planned to bomb the campus.
Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Amormino said at 2 p.m. that the suspect, Daniel Morgan, 22, had turned himself in to authorities at the Marine base. Amormino said bomb technicians wrapped up their search of the campus about 4 p.m. and that no explosives were found.
First Lt. Eric Flanagan, a spokesman at the Marine base, said Morgan is now being questioned by military police.
Flanagan said the Navy medic had not been charged with any crime, and that the Marines would not release whether they had determined a motive for the threatening writing among Morgan's personal belongings.
"Nothing like that is releasable at this moment," Flanagan said.
Flanagan said it's standard procedure to hunt down service personnel who don't show up for duty.
"If we find out a Marine is missing, we're going to do our best to find out where that person is," Flanagan said. In the course of the routine search of Morgan's belongings, military personnel came across the threat.
Flanagan said MPs and the Orange County Sheriff's Department are sorting out whether the military or civil authorities will handle any charges that might be brought against Morgan.
Amormino said the threat today was no prank.
"Sometimes on the first day of school or during exams, you get prank calls," Amormino said. "This is not that. It's coming from someone in the military who may have access to explosive devices."
All the students were off campus as of 2 p.m. Amormino said bomb technicians had split up into teams, along with FBI agents, to continue searching the building.
School and sheriff's officials said the 3,200 students and 180 staff members were evacuated from the buildings to the football field as deputies conducted an "inch-by-inch" search.
Amormino said Morgan went absent without leave from Camp Pendleton; he didn't show up for his job at 8:45 this morning.
Three Students Overcome by the Heat
Capistrano Unified School District spokesman Marcus Walton said early in the day that students and staff were safe and being provided with water and shade—they were moved from the athletic fields to the gym after bomb technicians deemed that building was safe.
At about 1 p.m., Walton said 2,000 additional bottles of water were brought in from the district office for students because of the heat. Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Marc Stone said about 40 firefighters and paramedics were on the scene to assist the bomb squad respond to any possible fires and to help monitor the health of the students in the heat.
Stone said three students had to be treated in heat-related incidents, but all were released to their parents without serious injury.
Jonah Arnone Crisher, 15, a sophomore inside the school, spoke to San Clemente Patch via cell phone about 11:45 a.m.
"Everyone was going to get books," Crisher said about the evacuation Wednesday morning. "The principal told us one thing, and then he said, 'We're going to need to go out to the football field.' We thought it was, like, a scheduled thing—we were wondering why all the cops and dogs were around."
He said the students were organized into groups by homeroom. It was fourth period when Crisher spoke to Patch.
"Maybe it's going to take all day," he said. "There are four helicopters here right now. It's pretty crazy."
Some parents at the scene, in touch with their children by cell phone, were frustrated that the students were still on campus.
"It's very scary, and it's something you don't take lightly," said Kari Kobayashi, one of several parents waiting outside the police tape as deputies searched the school. "I just want to take my kid home. We have to hope they're doing the right thing."
Kobayashi said the school notified her of the bomb threat this morning via phone and email.
Wednesday was the first day of school in the Capistrano Unified School District.