Altus AFB responds to Elk City bomb threat

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Myles Stepp
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
"You all have an hour before the whole place is blown off the map," said unknown caller.

Members of the 97th Security Forces Squadron responded to a bomb threat at a Walmart in Elk City Saturday December 10, 2011.

Dustin Pahler, Walmart manager, ordered an evacuation of the building at approximately 2 p.m. after receiving a phone call from an individual claiming they had one hour before the building would blow up. Elk City Intern Police Chief, Capt. Kennie Shirey said Dustin then notified the local authorities.

Elk City fire and police departments, Beckham and Washita Co. police, Oklahoma Highway Patrol officers and the 97th SFS military working dog team responded to the call.

Tech. Sgt. Marcus King, 97th SFS kennel master; Senior Airman Lauren Santa Cruz, military working dog handler and Endy, a WMD, arrived on scene at approximately 3 p.m.

"We were proud to work with the guys from Altus Air Force Base" said Shirey. "They responded very quickly and carried themselves very professionally."

The 97th SFS MWD section offers K-9 support to multiple counties in Oklahoma including Kiowa, Comanche, Jackson, and Beckham.

"The drive up there was a little nerve racking but I felt a lot more confident with my kennel master being there with me since he has much more experience than I do." Santa Cruz said. "I was also very confident in my MWD since my dog, Endy, has also been deployed twice and has found with three confirmed IEDs and 15 weapons caches."

The search teams spent nearly 30 minutes searching multiple vehicles in the parking lot before entering the store.

"Just another day on the job," King said. "This is the reason we train."

After a 2.5 hour rigorous search of the building's interior and exterior, the responders were unable to find any real threat. The search was lifted and shoppers were allowed back into the store around 7 p.m. No arrests have been made.