Thu Mar 1, 2007
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Reuters) – A graduate student from India was charged with several crimes, including making a terrorist threat, after walking into a university building and claiming to have a bomb and anthrax, prosecutors said on Wednesday.
Sujithkumar Venkatramolla, attending the University of Missouri-Rolla, was also charged with falsely reporting a bomb threat, resisting arrest, first degree assault and armed criminal action, according to the Phelps County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.
Police were called to the campus about 2:30 a.m. CST on Tuesday and found Venkatramolla in a civil engineering building holding a bag, and claiming to have a bomb and anthrax, police said. After a brief standoff, he was subdued with a taser gun and taken into custody, they said.
The campus was closed all day because of the threat and 23 people, including nine faculty and students, underwent a decontamination process because of the threat of anthrax.
A bomb squad spent hours searching a civil engineering building, but no explosives were found. A white powdery substance turned out to be sugar.
Venkatramolla, who the university said is either 22 or 23 years old, enrolled last year and had been studying civil engineering.
About 5,500 students attend the university, which is known for a specialty in technology and engineering.
Venkatramolla was in jail on Wednesday, with bond set at $250,000. Police said his actions appeared related at least in part to issues with his schoolwork.