Bomb threat

The Carmel Police Department, along with the Carmel Fire Department and Monterey County Sheriff's Office, responded to a bomb threat at Sunset Center received via text message on Friday afternoon.

This year’s Bach Festival was disrupted Friday afternoon as Carmel Police investigated a bomb threat at the Sunset Center in Carmel. At 12:18pm, a group of youth sat in the Sunset Center to hear a performance, when a 10-year-old audience member received a text message that read:  “Bomb Planted. Pickup 6F Sunset Center. @ 3:50.”

Carmel Police Chief Paul Tomasi says the child quickly notified staff, and by 12:30pm, Carmel Police were on the scene investigating. 

The Sunset Center was evacuated with just a few hours to go before a scheduled 7:30pm evening performance, “Guitar Hero.” Nearby homes were also evacuated as officials investigated. 

The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office and Carmel Fire Department were also on the scene. Sheriff’s Office Cmdr. Kathy Palazzolo says the bomb squad was sweeping the area, and Tomasi indicated they were still waiting for a bomb sniffing dog to join them from Paso Robles.

Tomasi says Carmel Police are still looking for a suspect. The phone number linked to the text message did not immediately correspond to a person. “It seems to be a spoof number,” Tomasi says. “We will have to do some more investigation.” 

A one-block buffer area remained cordoned off as of 2:30 Friday afternoon. Tomasi hopes to have the area cleared in time for tonight’s show, and says there are plans for heightened security at subsequent events. 

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“It is an inconvenience to Bach Festival-goers, but we want to make sure everyone is safe,” Tomasi says. “It’s good the recipient alerted someone. It goes back to the old saying: If you see something, say something.”


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(3) comments

Jeremiah Riley

check out this.

Jeremiah Riley

At ~12:45p, Carmel Bach Fest crew was made aware of the issue and contacted Carmel PD. Bach Festival crew also helped clear the building with CPD, ensured all musicians and patrons were outside the building and safe, and helped relay all messages to everyone affected in the stage areas with the help of some Bach crew that area familiar with the building. Due to Sunset Center unfortunately firing their most capable employee over a week ago (you can read about that in an article that came out earlier this week in the Monterey County Weekly titled "The show must go on at the Sunset Center in Carmel after safety violations and fines."), there was not a single SCC employee anywhere near backstage to handle this. Fortunately for SCC and the community, the Bach Festival crew knows how to correctly handle all types of situations, and was also personally thanked by Monterey County Fire for taking care of this in textbook fashion. It was not until ~1:10 that anyone from SCC administration was seen. By this point however, the ~100 musicians, crew and family members were already informed and escorted from the building in the fashion described above.

Jeremiah Riley

I've heard from various sources that the Sunset Center had absolutely no plan to deal with the evacuation and no one saw administration until the evacuation was completed by staff of the Bach Festival. It's said that Sunset Admin weren't even seen on the site until 20 minutes after the threat.

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