San Francisco evacuated temporarily in the Union Square locale for just under two hours this Thursday occurred following a mysterious backpack being seen by police officers on scene a short while before the Nike Women’s Marathon. Police officers deemed the “suspicious package” a potential bomb threat, and evacuated the entire area of tourists, runners, and all others from the busy plaza in order to investigate, UPI News reports this Friday, Oct. 18. Extra precautions were taken at the event due to a fear of another Boston bombing threat possibly being repeated.
The San Francisco evacuation included both San Francisco police officers and bomb squads. After law officers cleared hundreds from the Union Square Streets, police looked into the mysterious backpack and did a full sweep of the surrounding area, complete with bomb-sniffing dogs.
In addition to bystanders and runners in the Nike Women’s Marathon, both business workers near the plaza and would-be shoppers were asked to stay indoors and take shelter. Public transportation was similarly diverted from Union Plaza during the two hour stretch on Thursday afternoon, taking place between before noon to around 2 p.m.
The suspicious package that led to having San Francisco evacuated was found at 11:48 by police officers near Stockton Street of the Union plaza. Although initially worried about what was said to be a “mysterious backpack” in the police report, the evacuation shutdown was removed, and the square was once again reopened before 2 p.m. after no bomb threat was determined from the package or any other unknown objects in the area.
Safety, as it should be, was the officers’ and bomb squads’ chief concern.
"It's better to be safe than sorry," said a police spokesman on the San Francisco evacuation. "We take these incidents really seriously."
Some of the officers also feared that the situation was eerily reminiscent of the Boston bombing at the tragic marathon attack this April. This was part of the reason for the numerous precautions and swift response.
"Because of the Nike event, we wanted to make sure we were extra careful," he concluded.